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l>eatb's pe^aaoaical Xibrarg— 3( 






Fbllow of the Collboe of Pbboeptobs, London ; President of the 

Educational Institute of Scotland; Beotob of the Free 

Church Training College, Aberdeen, Scotland 


I say nothing against Mr. *s theory ; if we are 

to have one regimen for all minds, his seems to me as 
good as any other" george eliot 




By D. 0. HEATH & CO. 

Typography by J. S. Gushing & Co., Norwood, Mass. 
Presswork by C. H. Heintzemann, Boston, Mass. 




Idola Scholabum 1 

Review of Psychologies 16 

The Herbabtian Psychology 45 

The Thboby of Initial Equality 81 

FoBMAL Education 107 

The Meaning of Obsebvation 136 

Thb Logical Concept anjd the Psychological . . . 163 

• • • 






A Nbolectbd Educational Oroanon 188 

Graphic Htpotheses 216 

The Doctrine of Interest 247 

Indjcx 281 




When Scott wishes to give a reason for Reuben But- 
ler's occasional errors of judgment, he uses the pallia- 
tive parenthesis : " for the man was mortal, and had been 
a schoolmaster." 

When Bacon seeks to discover why men in general 
are so liable to those erroi-s, he classifies under four 
heads the causes which predispose men to go astray: 
these are the four familiar idola. Since this word is 
used in a philosophical connection, it goes without say- 
ing that there has been a controversy as to its exact 
meaning. Those who are wrong take the view that it 
means the ordinary thing set up to be worshipped, a 
meaning that has exposed Bacon to severe censure 
from foreign critics. Hallam sensibly maintains that 
the word retains the meaning it bad among tlie Greeks, 
and stands for an image as opposed to the reality, a 
false appearance as contrasted with the true nature of a 

LSir Walter's apology for Reuben makes an uncon- 
scious but very satisfactory classification of the four 
idols : the idols of the tribe, of the den, of the marketr 



place, of the theatre. The idols of the tribe correspond 
to the causes that led Reuben to err as a mortal ; the 
remaining three may be held responsible for his blunders 
as schoolmaster. 

For the idols of the tribe are those t« which all human 
beings as human beings are subject, such as the tendency 
to too easy generalizations, and to neglect contrary in- 
stances. Against those idob the schoolmaster must fight 
like an ordinaiy human being, a mere mortal. 

When we come to the den, we begin to have a profes- 
sional interest. "The idols of the den derive their ori- 
gin from the peculiar nature of each individual's mind 
and body, and also frorn, education, habit, and accident." ^ 

The " mind and body " Reuben shares with other mor- 
tals ; the i-est applies to special walks in life, and to none 
more pointedly than to that of the schoolmaster. Most 
of our school-rooms are veritable dens into which the 
master is led by idols born of his peculiar circumstances. 
" Heraclitus said well that men search for knowledge in 
lesser worlds, and not in the greater or common world." ^ 
True of all men, this is particularly true of the school- 
master, who ia apt to arrange all his conceptions to suit 
the limits of the lesser world of school, instead of fltr 
ting them to the greater world of life. If he be a High- 
School Master, a false quantity acquires a ridiculous 
importance in his ear ; while if he be a Primaiy-School 
Master, parsing and analysis become the chief end of 
man. Things which in the greater world are only 
means, become in the school-room ends. 

It ia almost certain that Bacon founded this class of 
' Novum Organum, Bk. I. 63. " Ibid., 42. 


idola upon the figure of the den in the Republic. As 
so many teachers live in the den, it ia well to consider 
Plato's description : — 

" Behold human beings living in an underground den, 
which has a mouth open towards the light, and reach- 
ing all along the den : here they have been from their 
childhood, and have their legs and necks chained so 
that they cannot move, and can only see before tliem, 
being prevented by the chains from turning round their 
Above and behind them a fire ia blazing at a 
distance, and between the fire and the prisoners there 
is a raised way ; and you will see, if you look, a low wall 
built along the way, like the screen which marionette 
players have in front of them, over which they show the 

" I see. 

"And do you see, I said, men passing along the wall 
carrying all sorts of vessels and statues, and figures 
of animals made of wood and stone and various materials, 
which appear over the wall ? Some of them are talking, 
others silent. 

" You have shown me a straJige image, and they are 
strange prisoners. 

"Like ourselves, I replied; and they see only their 
own shadows, or the shadows of one another, which the 
fire throws on the opposite wall of the cave ? 

"True, he said; how could they see anything but 
the shadows if they were never allowed to move their 
heads ?"^ 

One main aim of this book is to induce the cave- 
1 Repablic, VII. 514 (Jowett's Traoslacion). 



get himself as to read these pages. Such teachers are 
content to pi'actiae iin art the principles of which they 
do not understand, and they haughtily resent any at- 
tempt to enlighten them. They are poor prisoners in 
the cave. 

Leaving those few willing dwellers in darkness, let 
us look at the case of the many honest and earnest 
teachers who really do desire to get light upon their 
subjects and methods. At first sight there seems little 
to encourage sueli inquii-ers to prosecute their studies 
in the literature of their profession. Roughly speaking, 
that literature falls into two great sections. The first 
deals with what is usually known as school manage- 
ment, and is very valuable and indeed essential to 
young and raw teachers. But those of some experience 
and practical skill cannot be expected to content them- 
selves with mere directions how to teach this subject or 
that. They therefore turn to the second great section, 
in which the books profess to deal with education as a 
science, and to lay down the principles on which the 
mere methods of school management are founded. 

It is here that discontent arises. In the region of 
educational theory there is an intolerable lack of una- 
nimity. Each new school brings its new theory, which 
contradicts all other theories. If one takes up an ele- 
mentary historical sketch like Oscar Browning's Edu- 
cational Theories, one finds the change from theory to 
theory so sudden as to recall nothing so much as the 
bewildering change of subject in reading the dictionary. 

Nor is any very serious effort made to reconcile con- 
flicting opinions. On page 312 of Quick's Educational 


Refomierg, we find in a foot-note two fables, one by 1 
Pestalozzi about two colts, the other by Rousseau about J 

two dogs. The first fable proves that the colta, ©rigi- ' 
nally "as like aa two eggs," became widely different \ 
through nothing but education. The second fable | 
shows that the vast differences that ultimately mark the | 
two dogs of the same litter who have been " treated 1 
precisely alike " are the direct results of nothing but a I 
difference of temperament. No comment whatever i 
made upon the contradiction involved, except that ' 
Pestalozzi'a fable is "a fit companion " to llousseau's, 
Like a uineteenth-century Herodotus Mr. Quick tells 
the tale as 'twas told to him, and passes on to some- 
thing else. 

Almost every characteristic utterance of a great edu- 
cationist can be matched by its contradiction in the 
works of some other great educationist. Nor does this | 
state of affairs mark the dark ages of our subject. At "I 
the present moment our professional organs teem with 
quarrels about the merits of conflicting systems of 
teaching various subjects, while the two most powerful 
general systems of education — the Froel)elian and the 
Herbartian — are built upon opposing philosophical l 

Little wonder, then, that the teacher, tired of endless 
quarrels with no helpful outcome, should become dis- 
gusted with theories and turn his face to the wall of the 
cave, and be content to be called names. He thinks that 
there are either no general truths, no science of educa- 
tion, or that such general truths are not yet available. 

This ignorance is not to be overcome by supplying 


yet bigger and more formidable treatises on the Science 
of Education. For literary schoolmastera, more than 
any other class, have learnt the art of being dull by 
saying all that can be said on a given subject. It is 
because we live so much in the den that Littr^ with 
the fine calm that notliing short of diotionary-making 
can give, dares to write : 

" PSdant, a term of contempt, one who teaches chil- 

Pedantry is indeed our besetting sin, and nowhere 
does it receive a better illustration than in our love 
of completeness. A former Professor of Theology at 
St. Andrews was asked how he treated his subject. 
The true spirit of the complete pedagogue is crystallized 
in the answer : 

"I just begin wi' infeenity, and go riglit on." 

Our present lust for a professional literature is aggra- 
vating our naturally evil tendency. Education has not 
as yet a very secure place among the learned profes- 
sions, and writers on the subject are tempted to justify 
their claims by the questionable method of making 
their books as formal and technical as possible. One 
result is that ordinary practical teachers are repelled 
by the unnecessary difficulty and dulness of books 
which it would he greatly to their advantage to read.' 

' This Heems aa good a place aa any to apologize to American read- 
ers [or my use of illuBtrationa drawn from my experience of Scottiati 
and Engliab education. To use any other illustratioas would be to* 
Htultify myself. It would be a sorry commentary on the theory of 
apperception in teaching to quit the massea with which I am familiar 
iu order to dabble in others over which I have no control. A Scols- 
man'a masses in respect of American aflaira, however wide his inter- 


In the following pages an attempt ia made to treat the 
Herbartian Psychology in an interesting way, and to 
make some practical applications to the work of teaching. 
No doubt it will not be possible to make everything 
simple and easy, but it is hoped that no unnecessary 
difficulty will be added to the text in the interests of 
a pedantic completeness, or of an appearance of pro- 
fundity. Philosophy has no longer any need to be 
brought from the clouds to the market-place. That 
work has been already well done. The humbler task 
remains to introduce it to the den. 

The third class of idols, those of the market-place, 
arise from the associations of words and ideas. Bacon 
ranks them as the most troublesome of all. "For," 
says he, " men imagine that their reason governs words, 
whilst, in fact, words react upon the understanding."^ 
Nowhere is this better seen than in works upon Educa- 
tion. It seems almost impossible in works of this class 
to speak perfectly plainly. The discourse has hardly 
begun when we find that we have introduced a meta- 
phor. After that we are lost. Of a surety this meta- 
phor will "react upon the understanding." There is 
no more tyrannical idol in the whole market-place than 
a metaphor that has taken the bit between its teeth. 
A metaphor shows up a system as a deed shows up a 
man. By their metaphors shall ye know them. 

ests and extensive his reading, can never compete with masses native 
to the western shores of tlis Atlantic. American readers will tliere- 
fore, I tmst, pFirdon me, and translate, as only Ihey can, my maaaes 
in terms of their own. 
Nob. Org. , Bk. L 58. 


Mr. Stelling, in The Mill on the Flos»,^ " concluded 
that Tom's brain, being peculiarly impervious to etymol- 
ogy and demonstration, was peculiarly in need of being 
ploughed and harrowed by these patent implements. It 
was his favourite metaphor, that the classics and geom- 
etry constituted that culture of the mind which pre- 
pared it for the reception of any subsequent crop." 

In criticising this view, George Eliot proceeds to say : 
"I only know it turned out as uncomfortably for Tom 
TuUJver as if he had been plied with cheese in order 
to remedy a gastric weakness which prevented him from 
digesting it. It is astonishing what a different result 
one gets by changing the metaphor ! Once call the 
brain an intellectual stomach, and one's ingenious con- 
ception of the classics and geometry as ploughs and 
harrows seems to settle nothing. But then it is open 
to someone else to follow great authorities, and call the 
mind a sheet of white paper or a mirror, in which case 
one's knowledge of the digestive process becomes quite 
irrelevant. It was doubtless an ingenious idea to call 
the camel the ship of the desert, but it would hardly 
lead one far in training that useful beast. O Aristotle 1 
If you had had the advantage of being 'the freshest 
modem,' instead of the greatest ancient, would you not 
have mingled your praise of metaphorical speech, as a 
sign of high intelligence, with a lamentation that intel- 
ligence so rarely shows itself in speech without meta- 
phor — that we can so seldom declare what a thing is, 
except by saying it is something else ? " 

When the above was written, the greatest metaphor 
' Page 12&, Stereotyped Edition. 


of all, the truest and the best, but still a metaphor, had 
been long ago made, but was only as yet working it« 
■way slowly towav<ls the conquest of the English mind. 
The plant metaphor is generally regarded as beginning 
with Pestalozzi,^ and holding an after course through 
Froebel and hia followers till now it holds the vast 
majority of our profession in its relentless grip. Before 
Pestalozzi was heard of, wiseacres told each other that 
" As the twig is bent, so is the tree inclined," but with 
him the simile passed into a metaphor, and embodied 
a way of regarding childhood that has become so wide- 
spread that its very opponents in attacking it are com- 
pelled to use its vocabulary. 

Under all the popular words in our school-manage- 
ment books, words dear to the heart of every ambitions 
young teacher, there lurka the inevitable metaphor with 
its underlying theoiy. Many of those words imply 
totally different systems, yet they are ail used in the 
most friendly way on the same page. It is only because 
-of the power of the idols of the market-place that this 
happy family arrangement can be maintained. Faculty 
and oapacity are used as interchangeable terms, though 
■ they represent psychological views that are poles asun- 
der. Elicit and instruct, teach and educate, train and 
inform, all liide different and indeed contradictory views 
of the function of the teacher. 

So much for the market-place idols in their relation 
to the teacher's views on his profession. Their baneful 
influence is felt even more powerfully in the communi- 
cation between master and pupil. But as the following 
1 But see Comeuiue, The Great Didactic, V, 6. 



chapters are largely taken up with the effects of those 
idols, we may in the meantime pass ou to the fourth 

"The idols of the theatre are not innate, nor do they 
introduce themselves secretly into the understanding, 
but they are manifestly instilled and cherished by the 
fiction of theories and depraved rules of demonstra- 
tion,"^ Here again the schoolmaster is liable to fall 
an easy prey to the idols. Even the cave-dweller who 
has rejected the popular guides to the theoretical parts 
of Ma profession is not without his theories, and he is 
more than human if he keeps them from affecting his 
work, by modifying all tlie facts of school life and ex- 
perience to fit into them. According as he is a Calvin- 
ist or a naturalist will he find his pupils little demons 
or little angels. If he be an idealist, all the phenomena 
of the school-room will be made to fit into the formulEe 
of Kant and Hegel ; if a sensationalist (a much more 
likely supposition), the children become so many recep- 
tacles for containing the knowledge which may be 
poured into them through the senses. 

Consider the hard lot of the teacher. If he declines 
to meddle with theory at all, he is condemned to the 
den. If he seeks relief in figurative language, he is 
threatened with the idols of the market-place. If he 
accepts a definite theory, he is charged with yielding to 
the charms of the theatrical idols. The only hope of 
escape lies in common sense. A man must know all the 
theories in order to choose among them. He must be 
clear in his use of terms lest he mislead himself, not to 
■JVoo. Org., Bk. I. 61- 



speak of others. Finally, he must make such use of the 
theory he chooses as his experience and intelligence 
direct. What follows, for example, is based on the 
general principles that are associated with the name of 
Herbart. It does not follow that the writer is a Her- 
bartian. It is enough that he finds this system fits 
most readily into his own experience, and seems to 
him best suited to explain educational facts to others, 
Perhaps the best way to put it is to say that the follow- 
ing essays are written with a Herbartian bias, the sub- 
stantive being used in its pui-ely mechanical sense, and 
without that moral taint that usually accompanies it. 

It may be objected that such a plan is a clear tempt- 
ing of providence. To set out with a definite theory, 
and seek to apply it to a profession, seems very like a 
deliberate surrender to the idols of the theatre. One 
is at least forewarned, and on turning to Bacon for 
further information, one finds that the theatrical idols 
lead to error in thi'ee different directions. We are 
offered our choice of wandering into sophistic errors 
with Aristotle, empirical erroi-s with Gilbert, or super- 
stitious errors with people in general. On the whole, I 
lean towards the evil ways of Aristotle. If we must go 
wrong, let us at least err in good company. 

Yet I am not without hope that I may not err beyond 
measure. To begin with, there is little fear of the 
rabies biographica. I am a Herbartian only to the 
extent that I cannot help it. The metaphysical basis 
of the Psychology that these pages seek to apply is no 
concern of mine, and is only introduced into the text so 
far as to make the system a consistent and intelligible 



whole. Hei'biirtianism has weaknesses, and some of its 
rivals have points of superiority of which I shall not 
fail to avail myself, yet as it seems to me the best 
system for application to education, I prefer to adopt it 
as a whole, rather than to form a patchwork of the best 
of several incongraous systems. While thus avoiding 
the dangera of eclecticism, I no doubt increase the risk of 
serious error in the direction of Aiistotelian sophism. 
Against that error I must struggle as best I can. It 
may be impossible to escape altogether, but if I contrive 
to keep the average of error low, aud to confine it pretty 
much to one groove, I shall be well content. 

It is no part of the purpose of these pages to give an 
exhaustive analysis of the various kinds of idols. Such 
an attempt would hut supply a brilliant illustration of 
one of them. To the intelligence of the reader must be 
left the classification of the idols as they are called up 
for examination in succeeding chapters, or as they come 
up in the text uncalled for and unsuspected. For one 
result of considering those terrible idols is the firm con- 
viction that absolute philosophic truth is as unattaina- 
ble as absolute moral rectitude. In treating of the idols 
of the schools, then, I cannot hope to confine myself to 
a mere attack, as the manner of educational reformers 
is. In unmasking the idols of others, I am constrained 
to yield to my own. In extenuation I need only say 
that my idols are not nearly so ugly or dangerous as 
those others. 

It is to be hoped that this concluding remark will 
draw out the mild opposition it challenges. For so 
soon as we have reached the point of comparing idols, 


we are in hopeful case. We cannot compare things till 
we have at least stood outside of them, if not risen 
above them. Your only really hopeless man is he who 
denies that there are idols, or at any rate that he has 
idols. He sits in his den enjoying his shadows, and is 
terrible in his scorn of all who pretend that there is 
something in the universe more real than those darling 
black puppets. Almost any means is justifiable that 
shall rouse this modern cave-dweller to a sense of his 
deplorable state. If he can be roused to defend his 
idols, there is every probability that in the clash of 
arms those idols may show themselves to be what they 

As for the Grace-of-God teachers, they are beyond 


"Verbs of teaching govern two accusatives, one of 
the person, another of the thing ; aa, Magister Johannem 
Latinam docuit — ■ the master taught John Latin." 

Thus far the Latin rudiments. When the master 
seeks to apply the principle in real life, he finds that he 
can manage his double accusative only by the posses- 
sion of a double knowledge : he must know Latin ; and 
he must know John. Not so long ago it was considered 
enough to know Latin. Nobody denies that the master 
must know his subject — nobody but Jacotot, that is, 
for he maintains that the master need not know even 
that.* But while all the world agrees to treat the 
French educationist as a crack-brained theorist for his 
gallant attempt to free the master from the drudgery of 
learning what he has afterwards to teach, no outcry waa 
raised at the neglect of John, To know Latin was re- 
garded as all-sufficient. John was either token for 
granted or held to be not worth knowing. 

' Etaeigneineitt Uniritrael : De V Arithmitiq'ne, p. 212, in all the 
glory of emphatic capitals; "Je voub al dSj^ dit qu'on enaeigne ce 
qu'on ne Bait point quand on le veut." Then on p, 178, De la 61- 
ographie, he haughtily proclnima: " Je pais enselgner le hollimdaja, 
que j'ignore, plus rupldement que tous tea gTammairiens da monde 




The outcry has at last come. Popular belief and 
practice are changing, and Jolin ia entering upon a 
period iu which lie is likely to have a somewhat un- 
comfortable share of the master's attention. The person 
is for the first time coming to his proper place before his 
fellow-accusative, the thing. 

Unfortunately, the science tliat looks after John 
labours under a formidable name and a bad reputation. 
The veiy look of the word Piyuhology, with its super- 
fluous P, has done something to render it unpopular. 
Used as an adjective, it is now enough of itself to con- 
demn any novel. It suggests everything that is dull 
and unreadable. Beliind it all, too, there is an under- 
lying idea of a pompous assumption of special knowledge. 
To begin with, there is a difficulty iu knowing exactly 
what it is. The very definition of the science is a battle- 
ground for opposing schools, with whose pretensions the 
teacher has little concern. He ia a man of peace : it is 
not his place to fight. It is true that he is said to have won 
Gravelotte, but he did it by proxy. By proxy, too, he 
prefers to do hia lighting about Psychology, It is not of 
vital importance to him to know the exact meaning of 
the study. His aim as a professional man is not to know 
Psychology, but to know John. From the teacher's point 
of view, Psychology is the study of John. 

One has not \a go far in this study till one discovers 
that John has a double personality : he is a soul and 
be is a body. Those two are combined in the most 
intimate, yet most exasperatingly complicated way. 
No analysis, however subtle, can accurately mark off the 
precise limits of John's body and soul. Yet iu the 


broad common-aense way in which the words are used 
in every-day speech there is little danger of any mis- 
understanding. A man who cannot clearly distinguish 
right away the different meanings of soul and body, is 
not likely to profit much by the subtleties of Psychol- 
ogy. To make raattere perfectly clear, let it be once 
for all granted that this word soul is not here used in 
its narrow theological meaning, but is held to include 
all the higher parts of John's nature, — his knowings, 
feelings, wishings, and willings. So far as the body is 
treated as a machine, we are working with Physiology; 
as soon as the element of consciousness comes in, we 
have passed into Psychology. Naturally the next ques- 
tion is : What is consciousness ? This is a question to 
be given up. No man can tell another what conscious- 
ness is, which is the less to be regretted tliat everybody 
knows without asking. Most people treat conscious- 
ness as a rather important thing, but in Psychology one 
is prepared for differences of opinion, and so is not sur- 
prised when Huxley in his own airy way tells us that 
consciousness is a mere by-product, a sort of accident, 
something that has no more to do with the working of 
the brain than a steam whistle has with the working of 
the locomotive.^ Wherever Psychology differs from 
common sense, in the popular meaning of that term, 
the teacher naturally abides by common sense. He 
therefore has no difficulty in retaining consciousness in 
its high place, and making it the fuudamental element 
in John. Every fact in John's life of which John is 
' Epiphetiovtenon m the name that pbiioaoptiers of this school hurt 


conscious may be regartled as belonging to his soul, and 
ia a psycliologieal fact. But while every fact of con- 
scious life is thus psychological, it must not be inferred 
that Psychology has nothing to do with what takes 
place out of consciousness. By and by we shall see 
that there is a whole class of facts out of consciousness 
that have a distinct bearing upon what takes place 
within consciousness. These are regarded as psycho- 
logical facts in virtue of their influence upon the con- 
tent of consciousness. In the meantime, to come to a 
working definition of Psychology, we may say that it is 
the study of the soul of John. 

It is not perhaps of vital importance that we should 
define Psychology : it is different with John. Who or 
what is he? Is he the actual boy planted there, rudi- 
ments in hand, to learn a certain bit of Latin ; or is he 
a vague abstraction, a sort of generalized boy who an- 
■ swers to the " male child " of the dictionary ? Is he 
the result of subtraction or of division? Do we get 
him by simply subtracting him from the seventy in his 
class ; or do we pound the whole seventy in our psy- 
chological mortar till they form a uniform mass of boy- 
hood, and then divide by seventy ? Is John a boy, or a 

Is there an average John ? In Physiology there can 
be no doubt that much good work has been done by 
averages. A physiologist can give a very full account 
of the average boy of twelve. His account must not be 
tested by applying it only to one boy, say our John, 
but to a series of boys. Thus treated it comes out all 
right, and ia of practical use. Can Psychology do the 


same ? If it cannot, it is an exposed fraud. It is im- 
possible. No doubt children differ enormously in their 
dispositions, but they differ no less in their bodies. The 
thumbs of a hundred Johns look so like each other that 
one might think them interchangeable, yet so unlike 
are they in reality that an ingenious person has sug- 
gested the general abolition of seals in favour of 
thumbs, and that not because thumbs are always more 
within reach than seals, but because their imprint on 
wax is always unique. All the same, Physiology has 
much useful information to give about the average 

Psychology cannot help us to know this individual 
John who is at present conning his rudiments. It can 
only lay down the general principles on which John's 
soul Is constructed, and must leave his peculiarities to 
John's particular master. So far from grumbling at 
this limitation to the power of Psychology, the master 
should rejoice in it; for therein lies the dignity of his 
calling. There can never be a teaching machine — 
at any rate, none but a two-legged one. 

To combine the knowledge of John as an average 
with the knowledge of him as a boy is no doubt a little 
diSScuIt. Most teachers know how it is to be done, for 
most teachers have had occasion, in the course of their 
work, to make use of a certain irritating little story 
entitled ; " With Brains, sir." 

Before calling in the aid of formal Psychology, which 

after all only treats John as a quotient, let ns see what 

we can make of John as a boy. How are wo to study 

' Cf- Fr. Gallon's little book, Finger- Prints, Lond. 1802. 

him ? At the very threshold of our subject it is well to 
give up all hope of help in this study from John him- 
self. John is of a modest and retiring disposition, hav- 
ing no pleasure in the process of being interviewed. 
Even an infusorian is not quite his natural self under 
the fierce light that beats upon the stage of a micro- 
scope. It is not to be wondered at, then, that as soon 
as he knows himself to be under observation, John 
ceases to be himself. He becomes a new boy : he plays 
his part as bravely as his seniors. 

Yet the method of direct observation is too valuable 
to be thrown aside, and as the microscopist seeks to 
modify light, temperature, fluidity, and what not, to 
induce the trifling specks of pi-otoplasm on his stage 
to feel at home and act accordingly, so must the teacher 
seek to put the pupil at his ease, and examine him when 
off hi8 guard. Many teachers thus study their pupils, 
and are content to go no further. To this class, too, 
belong such observers as Perez, Preyer, Darwin, and 
the " father " in Sully's Studies of Childhood, who have 
all made elaborate observations of children at the very 
earliest stages. The general value of those observa- 
tions has yet to be established,^ but the special value to 
the parents and teachers of the children in question ia 
immediate and unquestionable. Educationists who are 

'•keenly alive to the danger of generalizing on such nar- 
row basia seek to attain to greater accuracy by widen- 
ing their observations so as to include whole classes of 

I subjects. 

, I MaudElej bus no patience witb any other ps;c)ioiopcal method. 
Yidf Body and Wiil, p. 80, note. 

They adopt the method of what is called Anthropo- 
metric Registration, in which all the essential measure- 
ments of each child's body are accui-ately and I'egularly 
recorded. In addition to the mere size, all manner of 
interesting particulai-s may be noted. Tests of all kinds 
may be applied. Sight tests, ear tests, weight tests, are 
quite common, and new instruments are being added to 
the paidological departments of the colleges to carry 
the testing still farther. In the laboratory of the 
school of Pedagogy of New York, for example, we are 
told in the New York Times tliat two new instruments 
have been introduced. The algometer is an instrument 
for measuring a child's ability to stand pain, and his 
general sensitiveness. Then there is a beautiful maeliine 
for testing nervousness and emotional sensibility in 
children, called the plethismograph. 

By and by John will have some chance of attending 
to Pittacus' recommendation " ICnow thyself " ; for he 
will come home from school with all the necessary ma- 
terial neatly set down in black and white decimals in 
his annual report card. Yet, after all, the result of this 
direct observation is only the beginning of knowledge. 
It is no doubt essential as a foundation, but upon it 
must be built by different methods the true John that 
we seek to know. Practical teachers, like practical men 
of other professions, are very fond of praising the result 
of direct observation, and depreciating in a eoiTespond- 
ing degree the information derived from reflection or 
from books. But in this case at least there is little 
ground for that absolute certainty which is a.ssumed to 
be the characteristic of sense observation. We cannot 


observe John's soul ; we can only olisetve his body and 
interpret his motions in terms of what goea on within I 
ouraelvea. We feel thus and thus, and accordingly act I 
in a certain way ; John acts in this certain way, there- 
fore he feels thus and thus. There we have the typical 
argument on which sense observation depends for what- 
ever authority it may possess in Psychology. 

To this process of iutei-pretation little objection need 
be raised, so long as it is only applied to persons whose 
circumstances are identical with those of the interpreter, 
or nearly so ; but the farther we go from this condition, 
the less reliable does the process become. The circum- 
stances of John and his master are notoriously unlike, 
with the result that the master's interpretations of John's 
actions are not always quite accui'ate. Huxley tells us 
that the only way to know how a crayfish feels is to be 
a crayfish,^ It may be said that the master's case is not 
quite so desperate as the biologist's, for the master has 
been a boy, and he can remember how he felt and acted 
then. No doubt the master can to some extent repro- 
duce his boyish experiences, and if proper means are 
taken by supplying concrete aids, such as books he used 
to read and instruments he used to handle, he may attain 
to a really valuable revivifying of past times. Let the 
master make as full a biography of himself aa his mem- 
ory will supply materials for ; then let him make as full 
a collection of books, toys, and other childish properties 
as time and the bump behind his own ear have spared. 
Finally, let him consult some aged female relative and 
by her aid construct a chronological table to accompany 
I IntemEitioDal Scientiflc Series : The Crayfish, p. 89. 


hia biography, and he will be somewhat astonished at 
the result. Generally speaking, he will find that he had 
thoughts at five and six that he never credits his infants 
with. No teacher who has not tried this method can 
guess what a revelation it will prove. Yet, after all, 
the enormous difference thus shown between our present 
and our former thoughts only makes clearer the diffi- 
culty in ever really bridging over the gulf that sepa- 
rates the man from the child. At his best the man 
cannot recall the past without reading into it a great 
deal that belongs to a period subsequent to that supposed 
to be recalled. It is as impossible for us mentally as 
it is physically to become boys again. In spite of our 
most vigoi-ous absti-action, we read some, at least, of our 
present into our past. 

If students in training for the profession of teaching 
could by any chance win an answer to Elizabeth Akers 
Allen's prayer — 

" Backward, turn backward, O Time, iti your flight ; 
Make me a child again, just for to-night ! " 

they might well dispense with the houra that wise coun- 
cils insist upon their spending in the practising schools 
connected with their college. But even the poetess her- 
self had little hope in her prayer. The teacher must 
look elsewhere for help. 

There is a cheerful little atory, resting upon doubtful 
authority, which teils how a progressive and enterprising 
power in the far East sent certain high officials to Eng- 
land to pick up various bits of civilization that those 
Orientals thought would he highly desirable at their end 



of the world. In particular, those officials were enjoined 
to discover the most civilized thing in religions. As 
they wanted a genuinely high-class article, a religion 
that would really work, they were recommended to 
apply to a certain professor at Oxford who had made 
religions a specialty, but who was greatly scandalized 
at this too practical application of the principle of Com- 
parative Religion. 

Practical teachers look upon Psychology in pretty 
much the same light as the Japanese representatives 
looked upon religion. What they want is a Psychology 
that will work. As human beings, such teachei-s may be 
interested in Psychology as a branch of general cult- 
ure; as teachers, they treat it as a means towards an end, 
and if the truth must be told, they regard it as on the 
whole a very ineffectual means towards that end. There 
is no more common criticism of a work on Psychology 
for Teachers or Mental Science aa Applied to Education 
than that Psychology and education are like oil and 
water — they will not mix. To be sure, in most school- 
management books they do not get the chance. All the 
Psychology, such as it is, is gathered into a few prelimi- 
nary pages, and is carefully kept to its place there under 
the disparaging name of Theory, while the rest of the 
book swells out into a totally unwarrantable size under 
the respect-commanding title of Practice. Teachers 
are treated haughtily by philosophers to statements 
which may or may not be true, but which are certainly 
not adapted to practical application to teaching. We 
have worked too long on the beggarly principle that 
teachers must not be choosers. There is a sort of feel- 


ing abroad that education is utterly dependent on Psy- 
chology for any social standing it may possess. John 
is John, and Psychology is his only exponent. To inter- 
fere with Psychology is therefore to lay sacrilegious 
hands upon the very ark of the nature of things, to kick 
j^ainst thg pricks of the eternal verities. We cannot 
change John by quarrelling with Psychology; let us 
therefore thauk the psychologist for the crumbs of infor- 
mation he may throw to us, and spend all our efforts in 
seeking to make the most of them in our practical work. 

But there are Psychologies and Psychologies, and 
Bome of them are better suited to our purpose than 
others. There may be a one true and living Psychology 
before which all the rest must bow, but in the meantime 
it has not made good its claims. The pui'sutt of this 
true Psychology is no doubt a very important work, 
but it is not the work of the teacher. As practical 
teachers, we do not ask from Psychology a statement 
of metaphysical truth ; we want rather a system which 
can explain all the known mental facts in such a way 
as to render them available in education. In short, we 
propose to treat the various schools of Psychology as 
so many hypotheses — which, after all, is probably not 
far from the truth — and to select that school which 
promises to be most useful in meeting our needs. We 
shall then pass in review before us the various systems 
with the deliberate purpose of selecting that which suits 
our pui'pose. 

To begin with the most rudimentary, we have Count 
Tolstoi's experiment at Yasnaya Polyana, his estate near 
Tula. Here we have a sort of ab ovo Psychology. The 



0»unt begins at the very beginning, without bias or 
theory — just as so many teadhers take a pride in doing; 
and, like them, learns with great labour and pain what 
any educational psychologist could have told him in 
five minutes. Tolatoi's main principle h practically an 
application of Spencer's doctrine that all true study 
must be pleasant. At Yasnaya Polyana no child is to 
be compelled to do anything. Tolstoi depends on the in- 
herent goodness of huraauity. Each child is a law unto 
himself. This is how it works. Tolstoi himself speaks.^ 

" The teacher goes into the room and finds the chil- 
dren rolling and scuffling on the floor, and crying at 
the top of their voices : ' You're choking me I You 
stop pulling my hair I ' or ' Let up : that'll do I ' 

"'Piotr Mikhailovitch,' cries a voice from under the 
heap, as the teacher comes in, ' make him stop.' 

"'Good evening, Piotr Mikhailovitch,' shout the 
others, adding their share to the tumult. 

"The teacher takes the books and distributes them to 
those who have come to the bureau. First those on 
top of the heap on the floor, then those lying under- 
neath, want a book. 

"The pile gradually diminishes. As soon as the 
majority have their books, all the rest run to the ' 
bureau, and cry 'Me oue, Me one!' 

" ' Give me the one I had last evening I ' 

" ' Give me the Koltsof book I ' and so on. 

"If there happen to be any two scufflers left struggling 
on the floor, those who have taken their places with 
their books shout; 'What are you so slow for? You 

» The Long Exile, etc., p. 264 (Dole's Tcanatation, Walter Soott). 


make bo much noise that we can't hear anything. 
Hush I ' The enthusiastic fellows come to order ; and, 
breathing hard, run after their books, and only for the 
first moment or two does the cooling agitation betray 
itself in an occasional motion of a leg. 

" The spirit of war takes its flight, and the spirit ol 
learning holds sway in the room. With the same en- 
thusiasm with which the lad had been pulling Mitka's 
hair, he now reads his Koltsof book — ^thua the works 
of Koltsof are known among us — with teeth almost 
shut together, with shining eyes, and total oblivion to 
all around him except his book. To tear him from his 
reading requires fully as much strength as it required 
before to get him away from his wrestling. 

"The pupils sit wherever they please — on benches, 
cbaire, on the window-aill, on the floor, or in the arm- 

But to what end continue with the struggle for the 
arm-chair, the deliberate departure of the whole school 
during school hours, and the hundred other experiences 
that produce the ridiculous mouse of conclusion — for 
the Count gains from his experiment the net result (1) 
that children like stories much better than lessons, and 
(2) that peasant children may tell better stories than 
Tolstoi himself. Yasnaya Polyana is not likely to affect 
seriously the future of the new education. 

If Tolstoi's methods show Psychology in its crudest 
forms, we have only to turn to the psychophysical school 
to flnd a corrective. To Fechner belongs the honour of 
founding this school, which professes to reduce Psy- 
chology to an exact science. It is true that Herbart 


anticipated bis pretensions by fonsdiog & Psyclitila^ 
npon Ma&em&tics. but for practical purposes Fechnor's 
was the first real attempt to introdnee exact netbods 
into Psj-cbologT. Tbat tbe snbject treated in Fecbner's 
book (poblisbed in IBGO) is a science no one ■will deny; 
that his methods are exact is beyond question. The 
only tronble is that his subject is not Psychology. Had 
his Psifchophi/sik contained a preliminary erratnui note 
" In this Tolnme, for Psychology read Physiiilog;>%" 
there wooM have been nothing to object to in his 
system. He has taught us a great deal alioiit the 
nature aod speed of nervous reaction ; his only mistake 
is in thinking that his experiments on matter can be 
simply interpreted in terms of mind. 

While this pseudo-psychology with its tape-lines and 
chronographs, its algometers and plethismograpbs, can 
do httle for us in the way of rational explanation of 
educational principles, it is of great value to the 
teacher. Physiology is almost as essential to the Art of 
I education as Psychology is to the Science, so we need 
not be surprised that many practical hints may be got 
from a study of Weber's Law, and the other generali- 
zations to which psychophysics have attained. 

Bain and Spencer write on Education with a psycho- 
physical bias, but both are too clear-licivded to \xs 
blinded by tbe glamour of a perfectly synunetrical 
system. After reading Fechner and his disciples for a 
little, one is tempted to think that all one needs is a 
painless way of trepanning the children so as to get at 
their brains with our reagents and instruments. A 
httle pressure here, a gentle stimulus there, and the 


work of seven years is done in a few luinuteB, It 
would be so much pleasanter for all parties than the 
present deplorable guessing and experimenting from 
the outside.^ 

While no one baa yet suggested this coarse inter- 
ference with the physical basis of mind, a daring young 
French psychologist has taken a step in this dii-ection. 
Guyau, in his Education and Seredity, has practically 
takeu up the position that one of the most striking dis- 
coveries of the psychophysicJstB should be applied to 
the actual work of teaching. Hypnotism can no longer 
be regarded as the mere material of an eighteen-penny 
show. It is now treated seriously by our best psycho- 
logical writers, and now that a respectable authority 
has seen fit to introduce it into educational discussion, 
the time has come to speak of it without the preliminary 
smile or sneer to which it ia accustomed. 

1 There is something (,i^wsome In reading, for inatance, of "the 
psychic action of ooflee." Cannot we even liave breakfast in peace, 
wittiout elegantly Bxpreaaed but terribly depreBBing remarliH on coSee 
as "an intellectual poisun"? To be snre, we have the comfort of 
learning that while itself a poison, this part of our breakfast is an 
antidote to another poison — opium. A recommendation that counts 
for more in the mind of a Scotsman ia that this beverage is " un all- 
uient d'dpargne." It appears that it decreases the development of 
carbonic acid in the system, and thus plays the part of damper. But, 
on the other hand, this has the effect of stimulating the will, without 
in the same degree stimulating the imagination or the general power 
to work, which is certainly a very unsatisfactory statu of afCaira. We 
would at once forswear coBee forever were it not that, a couple of 
pages further on, we are told that nearly the same things apply to tea 
and cocoa. We close the book hurriedly, and rejoice that psyoho- 
physica ia as yet in its infancy. See Bichet, UHomme el Vlntelli- 
gence: Lea poisoiu de 1' intelligence, p. 144. 


^P You are not to suppose that Guyau proposes to set 
off the whole school into a hypnotic trance, and then 
mould the passive minds into knowledge. Scientific 
paychophysicists have now made up their minds that 

(hypnotic suggestion may act without the formality of 
the trance, and what Guyau wants us to do is to apply 
this principle in dealing with our pupils. If he is to be 
" They'll take suggestion as a. cat laps milk ; 
They'll tell the clock to an; busioesa that 
We say befita the hour." 
The whole subject is yet too much in the clouds for 
aa to form very definite conclusions ; but it is surely of 
the utmost importance that we as teachers should know 
that such matters are being discussed. There are timid 
spirits among us who are inclined to think that the less 
said on such subjects the better. But it is well to re- 
member that in all probability every teacher to-day, in 
this practical land of ours, does make use of hypnotism. 
I "What is the meaning of that mysterious power that 
I every good teacher exerts over his pupils ? Above all, 
I what is the meaning of that Sympathi/ of Numbers that 
I we hear so much of in our school-management books, 
land to BO little purpose? There certainly is more in 
I our every-day work in school than is dreamt of in the 
I philosophical introductions to our school-management 
I books. But while it is well to keep our minds open to 
■ all sources from which truth may come, it is evident 
I that the Suggestion school is not yet in a position to 
■make practical recommendations, much less to set up a 
I Psychology that shall enable us to arrive at a true know- 


ledge of John — of John, at any rate, in tlie usual robust 
health in which we are accustomed to see him at school. 
In an article on " Artificial Modifications of the Character 
in Somnambulism,"iGuyauseeks to point out the useful- 
ness of such processes in education, but he is driven to 
make the honest reservation " at leaet in the morbid gtateJ" 
It is time now to come to the Psychology that actually 
holds the field among us. There is a popular belief 
that Locke is dead, that his system has had its day, 
that it did capital work in its time, and that it has now 
given place to better things. Philosophical writers are 
not unfair to Locke. Tliey admit that we are higher 
than he only because we stand upon his shoulders ; but 
they regard him as none the less dead for that. We do 
not at all question the accuracy of the biographer who 
tells ua that " The tomb of Locke may be seen on the 
south side of the parish church of High Layer, bearing 
a Latin inscription prepared by his own hand." We 
would only add that the Latin inscription might well 
have quoted the threadbare " Non omnia moriar," for 
Locke was never so much alive as he is to-day. Almost 
every philosopher who writes a book feels compelled to 
dispose of Locke first : he seems unable to get to his own 
theory save over the prostrate form that lies on the 
south side of that parish church. Though they spend 
all their introductory chapters in showing how Locke 
went wrong, philosophers do not seem able to get along 
without him.3 They go farther : they even seem to 

■ Revue PMlo$ophique, Avril, 1883, p. 433. 

1 Horbart himself seems to be no exception, Ribot, epeakiDf; of 
Herbari's idecis being ao mucb in advance of those preralent in tUo 




like him. It is no small matter to draw from a 

ogist a aentence so nearly tender as " Locke says in a 

memorable page of his dear old book." ^ 

Powerful as he is amongst professional philosophers, 
it is among the great mass of the non-professional 
philosophers that Locke is most influential — among 
teachers in particular. Teachers suck in Locke from 
the introductions to their earliest school-management 
books ; they pore over him and his critics from the time 
that they enter college till the fatal day on which they 
chalk up the pathetic word Ichahod on the college 
doona, and make their way out into the woild, there to 
carry into practice the Locke they have learned — and 
all this, in many cases, without having more than heard 
the name of Locke. 

For Locke's influence far exceeds hia fame. Most of 
his followers do not know their master. His point of 
view coincides so completely with that of tlie ordinary 
intelligent man in the street, that his following in all 
English-speaking countries is infinitely greater than 
any other philosophical writer can command. It has 
been said that every child is born into the world either 
a little Platonist or a little Aristotelian. This may be 
true of the rest of the world, but wherever the verb 
eogitare is translated by the words to think, there eveiy 
child is bom a little Lockian. 

metaphyoio-ridden Germany of hia time, Bays: "J'lndine & oroire, 
poartant, qu'ellea avaient H.6 saggit^es & Herbart moins par ses 
propres rfiflexiona qae par la lecture de Locke." — La Fnyahologie 
Mlemande Contemporaine, p. 4. 

■ James, Principles of Psychology, Vol. I., p. 67fl. 


Locke then fairly claims om- attention with every 
chance of winning our final approval, though the reader 
well knows that Locke will after all turn out to be 
only a goodly Eliah brought in to give place by and by 
to some stripling o£ a German David. This process has 
become habit and repute in writing of this class ; for 
Locke shares with Mr. Herbert Spencer the unenviable 
r81e of the Aunt Sally of Philosophy. No work on 
Philosophy is complete without a preliminary refutation 
of Locke, and an up-to-date sneer at Mr. Spencer. The 
living philosopher is particularly able to defend himself, 
and the dead one needs no defence ; he only requires to 
be understood. He may be wrong, in fact he must be 
wrong, since the whole world who writes is unanimous 
on the point ; but he is honest and fair above most men, 
and, for a philosopher, eminently clear. 

His method commends itself to us by its practical 
common sense, its lack of any assumption of superior 
private knowledge, its determination to take nothing for 
granted. There is a useful little book called Inquire 
Within upon Everything. This title might with great 
appropriateness have been adopted by Locke as the motto 
of his great work The Essay on the Human Understand- 
ing. " I can no more know anything by another man's 
understanding, than I can see by another man's eyes," 
says Locke. Therefore he maintains that the only way 
to get at the meaning of knowledge is to inquire within 
his own mind. Introspection, looking within, turning 
the mind inwards upon itself, — these are the names of 
a process tliat has always commanded the fullest confi- 
dence of English and Scottish and even American phi- 




losophers. "Seeing ia believing" is as satisfactory to 
introspective philosophers as it could be to Martin Tup- 
per himself. If I look into ray miiul and find certain 
things there, I know them to be there. And whatever 
I cannot find there, I do not know to be there. Observe 
that the introspectionists do not say that because they 
cannot observe a certain phenomenon in the mind, that 
phenomenon is not there. All they maintain ia that 
they do not know it to be there. Whatever may be the 
faults of this school, unfairness is not one of them. It 
claims not an inch beyond what tlie sternest logic will 
allow. The radical defect of the school is very obvious, 
very simple, and quite irremediable. When the mind is 
turned back upon itself, it can never see the whole of it- 
self. There must always remain the part seeing and the 
,part seen, yet to know the mind as the introspectionista 
seek to know it demands that it should be all seen at once. 
Introspection cannot fulfil its own conditions ; it ob- 
viously requires to be helped to attain its end. So far 
as it goes, it is admirable, and it goes a great way. Yet 
it breaks down at a very important place. By looking 
into our minds we may see pretty clearly what they con- 
tain ; we may note from time to time the rapid passage 
of ideas causing a complete change in the content of the 
mind. What we cannot well observe is the mechanism 
by which such changes are effected. The introspection- 
ists, so far from explaining this mechanism, hardly seem 
to realize very clearly the distinction between the con- 
tents of the mind and the laws according to which these 
contents are developed and modified. No doubt philoso- 
phers are ready to step in here and point out that Hume 



at least recognized the distinction, and to give an abstruse 
disquisition in which Hume'a "natural relations" are 
proved to correspond to the content, while his "philosoph- 
ical relations" stand for the mechanical elements.^ But 
a Philosophy that requires so much explanation is of little 
use to U8 ; we want one tliat says plainly what it means 
in matters in which we are professionally interested. 

By the time John comes to school he has what are 
known as ideas. It may he supposed that he has not 
many, and that what he has are not of much conse- 
quence. As a matter of fact, he lias acquired more 
lirst-liand ideas before he comes to school than he 
acquires during all the remainder of his life. In any 
case he has ideas, and these must be reckoned with. 

At this point I cannot do better than in the words of 
Locke: " Beg pardon of my reader for the frequent use 
of the word idea which he will find in the following 
treatise. It being the term which, I think, serves best 
to stand for whatsoever is the object of the understand- 
ing when a man thinks, I have used it to express what- 
ever is meant by phantasm, notion, species, or whatever 
it is which the mind can be employed about in think- 
ing; and 1 could not avoid frequently iising it. 

" I presume that it will be easily granted me that 
there are such ideas in men's minds. Everyone is con- 
scious of them in himself; and men's words and actions 
will satisfy him that they are in others. 

" Our first inquiry, then, shall be how they came into 
the mind." ^ 

I G. P. Stout, Mind. 1889. 

< Essay on the Human Understanding, Bk, I,, Cliap. I. 


This last sentence lets slip the hounds, and starts the 
grand tally-ho for ideas. Where did John get those 
ideas that Locke says we cannot deny that John 
possesses ? Were they waiting for him when he came 
into the world, or did he bring them with him from the 
shores of that great unknown whence he came ? Did 
they grow in him as the cells of his brain grew, or 
are they stuffed into him like his rusks and arrowroot ? 
On the whole, the stuffing theory is most popular with 
people in general, and with ttiacbers in particular. 
Descartes' theory that ideas are born along witli John 
has never recovered from Locke's attack. Plato's 
theory of reminiscence, that maintained that John's 
ideas were only the memories of a previous existence, 
was never more than a poetical myth. Scientific men 
cannot satisfy even themselves with the theory that 
ideas are a sort of morbid secretion, of specially modi- 
fied protoplasm.^ 

Locke, on the other hand, exactly met the wants of 
his practical fellow-countrymen, with his theory that 
the mind is a sort of idea-box, into which the senses 
admit as many ideas as are good for us. His theory is 
not in its elements new, since it consists in the applica- 
tion of a principle widely recognized among tlie School- 
men: "NDiil in intellectu quod non fuerit prius in 
sensu." The mind gets all the ideas through the 
senses. It is a sort of blank sheet of note paper on 
which the senses write. The mind, however, is not 
quite passive; it has the duty of combining and ar- 
it that the brain secreUa thought ils 


ranging the ideas supplied by sense- It is here thai 
the critics begin to enjoy themselves. They point out 
that Locke's mind is sometimes active, sometimes pas- 
sive, as the needs of his theory vary, and, further, that 
a whole class of ideas are in a sort smuggled into the 
mind. They fi-eely admit that John can get the idea 
of red in no other way than through the sense of sight. 
But liow the mind passes from this idea of red to that 
of colour is what the critics are anxious to know, and 
what Locke fails to explain. In other words, Locke is 
quite clear about the mere content of the mind, and 
knows that there is a mechanism ; but he makes no 
serious attempt to discover how this mechanism works. 
He knows the idea red, and the idea colour, and he 
knows that somehow or other the one arises out of the 
other ; but beyond endowing the Uiilid with a faculty 
for this sort of work, he leaves the change unexplained. 
This is not to be wondered at when we remember 
that Locke and all his school regarded the action of the 
mind as limited to a series of successive states. Fot 
him, and for the whole associationist school, the mind 
was a sort of hour-glass.' The upper bulb was filled 
with ideas that were out of consciousness, but were on 
their way into it ; the lower bulb was filled with ideas 
that had just passed out of consciousness. No idea 
was in consciousness save when it was passing tlirough 
the narrow neck from the one bulb into the other. 
This conception of the mind leads to endless difficulties, 
which are seen with greater or less clearness by all the 

1 The assooiationista, of couree, do not use Uuh flguro ; but I do not 
think I a,m unfair to them in making it. 



school, and wliicli are met by more or less ingenious 
devices. In Dr. Thomas Brown,' for example, the 
difficulty is so keenly felt that he practically admits 
the coexistence of several states in the mind, but is 
very careful to maintain his consistency by asserting 
that this coexistence is only "seeming." 

We are not at all concerned to defend the associa- 
tionists, or to help them out of the difficulty into which 
their principles have led them. We leave Locke with 
regret, thanking him for what help he has been able to 
give us, and turn elsewhere to see what other systems 
can offer. If our aim were to find out John's true 
place in nature, and to explain liim as a phenomenon 
viewed from the standpoint of eternity, we could not 
do better than throw in our lot with the school of 
idealism, as it is called. This, however, offers more a 
system of Metaphysics than a Psychology, and a Psy- 
chology is good enough for us as teachers. 

Education has not been able to escape the all-pervad- 
ing force of this idealism, and two of the greatest men 
on our roll of educators owe much of their inspiration 
to its influence. Of the two founders of the Froebelian 
school, Pestalozzi was probably the greater man, while 
Froebel was the greater philosopher. This is not, per- 
haps, very high praise ; for, truth to tell, neither was 
very distinguished in this direction. Yet obscure and 
confused as are Froebel's philosophic utterances, they 
undoubtedly embody the spirit of German idealism. 

» Fkaosopky of Human Mind, Lecture 45, p. 290 ; "In itself every 
notioUi howevar seemingl; couiptei, is and mnst be truly simple, being 
one state or affection of one Eimple substance, mind." 


The doctrine of the organic unity of the universe 
miderliea all his theories, and cannot be neglected in 
considering his principles unless we are prepared for 
meaningless confusion. 

The usual criticism of this idealism as a system is that 
it deals with such wide and universal principles that 
there is a danger that universality is gained at the ex- 
pense of content ; that the principles become empty for- 
mula which lose hold of the facts they profess to explain, 
and present a specioiis harmony by the simple expedient 
of omitting inconvenient facts. The idealist's difficulty, 
like the clergyman's, is usually in the application. 

Froebel is no exception to the rule. In the Education 
of Man we have beautiful, if obscurely expressed, truths 
about education. In the kindergarten we liave clear, 
cut-and-dry, consistent principles. But the kinder- 
garten canui>t be evolved from the Education of Man. 
Between the two there is a great gulf fixed, a gulf that 
Froebel has not bridged. 

The universe is an organic whole, in which all things 
must work together for good. Every animal, person, 
place, or thing has its allotted position and work in tliis 
rational universe, and can only fulfil its function by 
being true to itself, consistent with its own nature. 
John must develop, and that according to fixed laws. 
What those laws are can be discovered only by learn- 
ing the course of nature. Find what nature wills, says 
the Froebelian, and do that. John must develop accord- 
ing to the laws of his own nature ; his development must 
be 8 elf -development, development from within. Before, 
therefore, we can educate John, we must know him. 



Here we have stumbled upon the radical difference 
between the old education and the new. No doubt the 
change from Latin to John was ^t least suggested by 
Rousseau in Emile, but to tlie Froebelian school belongs 
the glory of the advance. Pestalozzi began, and Froebel 
developed, the study of child-nature as a key to educa- 
tion. The words on Froehel's tomb " Lasst una unserii 
Kindern leben " are usually translated " Let us live for 
our children." But they have been rendered, and some 
prefer the reading, '* Let us live with our children. 
The first embodies the spirit of the law of child-study 
the second expresses its very letter. 

Unfortunately, the way to know John is not sug- 
gested. Since the whole ujii versa is a rational organism, 
it follows that if we know how that organism works, 
we know exactly how to educate John. But to exhaust 
the universe seems a somewhat tedious way to get at 
the information we want. The Froebelians do not face 
tbia rational outcome of their principles ; they content 
themselves with a metaphor. The child is a plant. 
Once the Froebelian has said this, he has uttered the 
shibboleth of his school. Thereafter he is content to 
take his place as a humble under-gardener, and watch 
with interest and admiration the development of John. 
Education becomes, in the very words of the master, " a 
passivity, a following." The natural outcome of those 
principles is a general paralysis. Education becomes 
a great mystery. 

Froebel is at once worse and better than his princi- 
ples : worse, inasmuch as he has failed to correlate 
theory and practice ; better, inasmuch as his practice 


is not the paralysis to which hia principles would lead 
him. He does not carry hia philosophy far enough to 
demonstrate the possibility of what is called education 
in an organic universe. If John must develop accord- 
ing to fixed laws, if John must be self-determined, what 
work is left for the teacher ? Yet this enforced " pas- 
sivity" is not allowed to degenerate into inactivity. 
The master's work is reduced to a " benevolent super- 
intendence," no doubt, but it is wonderful how much 
can be read into such a pliraso. Kven the plant meta- 
phor is not quite such a restriction as at first sight 
appears. It leaves the teacher all the rights of prun- 
ing, and grafting, and even transplanting. At a pinch, 
corporal punishment itself might be smuggled into the 
kindergarten, and be justified by the case of the walnut 
tree in the old Warwickshire couplet : - — 

" A woman, a dog, and a. walnut tree, 
The more tbey are beaten, the better they be." 

It is to be noted that Froebel's failure to correlate 
his theory and his practice by no means proves that 
either theory or practice is wrong. To me, each in its 
own place seems eminently Siitisfactory : the Hegelian 
doctrine as a philosophical explanation of the universe, 
and the kindergarten practice as a school method. 
The objection is that there is no Psychology in the 
system at all, other than mere external observation of 
John. To call him a plant does not advance matters 
much, and manifestly does not account tor the use of 
cubes, spheres, cylinders, and bricks in the very precise 
way the kindergarten demands. In truth, Froebel'a 


system as a practical school method is purely empirical. 
The fanciful, quasi-philosophical way in which he seeks 
to explain the relation of angles and sides, of forms of 
knowledge, of beauty and of life, and of the moral 
meanings of certain physical phenomena, is charming, 
but amounts to nothing more than a pretty mysticism. 

Not Philosophy, but common sense, experience, and 
loving observation have led Froebel and his followers 
to adopt certain apparatus and certain methods which 
are excellent in themselves, and which in capable hands 
produce admirable results. For this he deserves all the 
honour that has been heaped upon him — but he has not 
explained John. 

The mere fact that Froebelianism has obtained such 
a hold upon our educational system proves that it pos- 
e^aaeg elements of first-rate importance to the teacher. 
But as a Psychology it is simply non-existent. It sug- 
gests the immense importance of knowing John ; which 
is much. It leaves to others the task of supplying this 

Once more on our travels in search of information 
about John, we turn quite naturally towards Germany ; 
for, like so much else that is well worth having, most 
of our educational theories are made in Germany. 

It is true that the disgrace supposed to attach to this 
brand is somewhat modified in the case of education by 
the fact that we have at least the skill to apply the 
theories to our own conditions ; in applying them in a 
new environment we make them our own. In some 
respects we make a better use of imported theories than 
did the founders of those theories. Herbartianism is 


at least as vital a force in the United States at this 
moment as it is in the Fatherland. There is a Herbart 
Club of altogether abnormal activity. Herbartian lit- 
erature is springing up in almost alarming luxuriance. 
Even in conservative England teachers are becoming 
alive to the importance of this new light, — a sixty-year- 
old torch is still a new light in educational matters, — 
and as this is the light in which we hope to make 
John known, we must introduce Herbart in a new 



JoHANN Friedrich Hbrbakt >Y»a Imtu in ITTtl, ^\\\\ 
died in 1841. He has no history. IMuli^opht^t'n noM^v^^ 
have. It is a compensation. 

Many teachers seem to liave the vu^iio iiMlltiii \\\\s\ 
Herbart is a sort of continuation Hohool imIKImii of 
Froebel. Kindergarten for the lownr i^liiNMnM, llur 
bartianism for the higher. Even profoHmid l<'nHi|Ht|hniH 
do not seem to be quite aware Uiat Iltirbiirt, no ftu* Iriiin 
supporting their position, is directly oppimnd Ut \i, Nn 
doubt many of the practical nicoiniiHeiMhilJoim nt (Jim 
two systems are the same, as in uaiiimL W<i nIiiiII mm 
later, too, that from the broa<J platform of ll«<p(«dhn« 
optimism we may ultimately nti'MmiUi i\u*. iih\M\i,nh\mt 
But as matters stand, Froelieli^ii and \{i:i\m,iU^u piH/ 
ciples, as understood in a plain, i'/HhtWfh i^'hmi wm*!, 
are diametrically oppcmbd to td^'.U iA\i^ti\ 

So absolute is the oppfMithm iWt it </^/iM i^ th^fU 
fitly described ihm by adoptlu^ ti^ ^/nm^y^it^fh by 
which Kant emjAmirtd xh^ ^uJf ti#^t t^.^^^it^^AA htn 
syst^n from tiboie tbait pr^^Ats^i ift, 'iU, ^'/f.>f>hy,i- i*^ 
compared to IIk; tnirm»f>f fx^/su u^. I-'V/^jm/a^^ «y/ ih*- 
Copemican ooneeptMb «f tij^ tt^/jo^^ «>/^>;^ J ^^ >^^//>< 
point Ib not only diSfsnaiit. n jut #?/^^.// '^^a; v/</*^m>/ '/^ 
wliat it was be&R:. >^*«i. tii^ iWft<J>>^. *.wm^ yin,/f,/f 


phers have been racking their braiiis to explain how 
the mind manages to make ideas, or find ideas, or contain 
ideas, or combine ideas. In the problem the mind was 
always " given. " It was the one thing in the universe of 
which the philosophers were sure. " Cogito ergo sum " 
is but one of a series of ways in which this truth has 
been expressed. The trouble always began about ideas. 

To all this Herbart supplies us with a pleasant variety. 
He stai'ts with the ideas, and the hunt is now for the 
mind. We have failed to explain ideas by the mind; 
how about explaining the mind by ideas ? 

You are not to suppose that tliis is exactly how Her- 
bart puts it. Herbart is a philosopher- — a German 
philosopher. The change of standpoint is none the less 
real for that.^ 

It is true that he starts with a mind, or, a3 he pre- 
fers to call it, a soul. But do not fear that the sport 
of the hunt is to be spoiled for that. This " given " 
soul is no more a real soul than it is a real crater of a 
volcano. It has absolutely no content. It is not even 
an idea trap : ideas can slip in and out of it as they 
please, or, rather, as other ideas please ; for the soul has ^ 
no power either to call, make, keep, or recall an idea. 
The ideas arrange all those matters among themselves. 
The mind can make no objection. 

I " The soul has no capacity nor faculty whatever, 
I either to receive or to produce anything. 

' Th. Hibot, in his La Psyckoloffie Altemande Contemporaiae, Bays 
that with Herbart the mot ou la eoiigeieHee, in plain English the Her- 
bartian soul, " ii'est que laaonimedeB mpr^nlationB actnellea. Bref, 
elle est un eSet et qdil iiue cause, ua r^ultat et non ua fait prltnitif." 
— p. 24. 



'' It 1b therefore no tabula rasa iu the sense that im- 
pressioDs foreign to its nature may be made on it ; 
iJso, it is no substauue in Leibnitz' sense which in- 
cludes original self-activity. It has originally neither 
, nor feelings, nor desires ; it knows nothing of 
itself and nothing of other tilings ; further, within it 
He no forms of intuition and thought, no laws of will- 
ing and acting ; nor any sort of predisposition, how- 
ever remote, to ail these. 

" The simple nature of the soul is totally unknown, 
and forever remains so ; it is as little a subject for 
speculative as for empirical psychology."^ 

It is here that Herhart has the advantage of Locke. 
The English philosopher got rid of innate ideas, but 
3 could not free himself from ijiuate faculties. What 
Locke did for innate ideas Herbart did for innate facul- 
ties.' Burdened by his assumption of successive states, 
Locke could not get his ideas to work upon each other 
1 order to produce complex actions and reactions. He 
was therefore driven to invent or assume certain powers 
of the mind which he called faculties, and which were 
icredited with all the work that went on within the 
Blind. When a certain process was discovered, by the 
iBct of introspection, to take place in the mind, Locke 

Herb&rt'H PBycliology is set forth in two works, — a large and nut 
difficult treatise, Faijchiiloijlc all WiasenKh(tft, and a smaller and 
) difficult, because more condensed, Lehrbnch zvr Psychologic. 
references are always to the latter, as being more c«uvenient. 
lie above passage is to be found in Part III., g§ 152, 15:1. 

3 It is true thak Leibnitz was by implication first in tbe field, but 
rhat he implies by his "a naked possibility is notbing" is cieari; 
stated and worked out by Heibart. 


and his followers gave this process a name, and then 
assumed a faculty corresponding to that name. A 
certain process called abstraction ia discovered to go 
on within the mind. This gives the introspectionist 
no trouble. It is only a matter of baptizing another 
faculty, and we have the "faculty of abstraction." 
Against this short and easy method Herbart made a 
vigorous protest, and swept away forever from his 
Philosophy the whole brood of faculties. 

Thus suddenly deprived of our faculties, we are 
naturally somewhat anxious to see how we are to get 
along without them. Herbart does not leave us long 
in suspense, 'What he has taken from the soul he has 
transferred to the ideas. ' These are no longer the mere 
passive material on which the faculties act ; they have 
a vitality all their own,' indeed, apart from them there 
is no vitality in the soul at all. With Herbart the soul 
is assumed to be perfectly simple and homogeneous, 
its only power being a vigorous via inertice." Left to 
itself, the soul would never change at all. This is an 
obvious assumption for which most of Herbart's fol- 
lowers are inclined to apologize. Educational writers 
who base their ideas on his usiialiy pass very lightly 
over this part of his Philosophy, if indeed they mention 
it at all. But as the use of hypotheses is one of the 
essential points in which lie differs from the introspec- 
tionists, it ought rather to be insisted upon. No doubt 
this particular hypothesis is of no great moment. Her- 
bartianism could still be a force in education without 
it. Yet for a complete understanding of the mechan- 
' F»]/ehologie, Part I. 10. ' Ibid., Part in. 153. 




riam by which Herbart makes Psychology consiateiit 
with itaelf, we must consider it. 
This simple and homogeneous soul ia not left to 
itself, as it would like to be. It is attacked by the 
one set of forces that can have any effect upon it. 
Nothing but ideas • can affect the soul, and even when 
attacked by them it {loes not rouse itaelf up to inde- 
pendent action ; it only reacts upon the presented 
ideas. Once tiie soiil has reacted upon an idea, it can 
no longer he the same soul that it was before. It 
resists change backwards as vigorously as it resists 
change forwards. It reacts differently upon the next 
idea that presents itself, because of its previous reaction 

iupon the first. It is obvious that, on this view, the 
soul sinks into comparative insignificance compared 
with the ideas. The ideas really make up the mind. 

' This familiar word seema best aaited to represent the Herbartian 
VorMellung. "State of consciousness" (Ribot) is accurate, but 
cambeKome. "Concept" implies a theory that Herbart does not 
hold. " Presentation " (Stout) is perfectly accurate bo far as it goes, 
hnt it has the same defect as idea itself, — it limits the meaning too 
much to the merei; cognitive side. No doubt this is an error in the 
right direction, for while Gemuth is distingnished from Geiat (P^., 
Part L 33), we are told " Das Gemvtk abtr hat aeinen Sili im Geiste, 
Oder, FUhlen und Begehren sind Zuuaclist ZusClinde der Vorstellungen, 
und zwar grilBserutlieilB wandelbare Zustande der letzteren." We 
may, therefore, safely retain the ordinary English word, especially ae 
we have the authority of Dr. W. T. Harris for the following ; " Vor- 
sttllung means image, or concept, or representation, or presentation — 
in short, any and ail mental products included under the English word 
idea in ila widest appUcation." 

In the light of the above note the distinction of the terms tovl and 
vind as nsed in the test will he clear : mind is used where the cogni- 
tive aspect is predominant, soul when the whole Watn is implied. 


The soul is regarded as little else than the battle- 
ground of contending ideas. 

For, according to Herbart, the ideas are always com- 
peting with each other for a place in the soul. But all 
places in the soul are not of equal value in the eyes of 
an idea. To use a somewhat gross comparison, the 
soul may be regarded under the figure of a dome, the 
summit of which is the goal of the ambition of every 
self-respecting idea.^ The summit is certainly the best 
place, but anywhere within the dome is good, and the 
nearer the summit of the dome the better. Wlien an 
idea gets low down in the dome near the base, it be- 
comes dim and languid, and the nearer the base the 
more languid, till on the base it gasps for a while, and 
then either rises to higher and happier levels, or sinks 
beyond the base altogether into the limbo of uncon- 

The base of the dome which separates the realms of 
light and life from the nether regions, where the ideas 
gnash their teeth, is called the threshold. Naturally 
we want to know on what principle some ideas main- 
tain their place within the dome, while others sink be- 
low the threshold. 

The first time an idea passes the threshold into the 
dome, his chief care is to make acquaintances — useful 

' Herbart miwt not be held responaible for the figure of the dome. 
He generally contents himself with plniu uuligurative language on thu 
point ; an idea is simply in the soul or in consciouaneaa. I have 
adopted the dome merely as a kind of shorthand expression, and not 
as Implying any sort of theory. It is particularly to be noted that it 
hjiB nothing whatever to do with the Vaulting and Tapering — WiJl- 
miung vrtd Znspitzvng ^letcTred to in Paychoiogy^ 26, d. 



acquaintanceB. For his only chaiice of gaining a foot- 
ing within the dome is by making suitable connections. 

Hia conduct therefore is strikingly like that of an 
ambitious young man on his introduction into scMsiety. 
He finds there ideas akin to himself, with whom he 
easily forma fast friendships ; but on the other hand he 
encounters certain ideas utterly opposed to his style, and 
these do all in their power to expel him. An idea's first 
visit to the dome seldom lasts very long. He has few 
friends and many enemies ; he soon sinks to the thresh- 
old, and passes out into a longer or shorter exile. 

WMle there is thus among those ideas as much in- 
triguing for introductions, aa much clique-making and 
log-rolling aa in any drawing-room or newspaper 
office, there is this very important difference. Those 
ideaa are loyal to each other. As soon as one of them 
has crossed the threshold into the sunny land. Ma first 
thought is naturally to make for the summit ; but his 
second is invariably to drag with him those with whom 
he is more intimately connected. He never seeks to 
push on towards the centre alone. He drags forward 
all his allies with him step by step up the steep sides of 
the dome. Among the ideas, as among cavalrymen, it 
is the slowest horse that gives pace to the charge. A 
clique of ideaa sittks or swims together. 

Each such clique of ideas is known by the alarming 
name of an apperception mass, and the Herbartiana 
maintain that our whole intellectual life is spent iu 
forming new apperception masses and in expanding 
old ones. Some ideas, from the very nature of things, 
are much more frequently in the soul than others. 


Being frequently within tlie dome, they naturally make 
a larger number of alliances than others lesa favoured, 
with the result that they have a much greater chance 
of being recalled. Any idea that necessarily enters 
into our daily life must form the nucleus of a very 
powerful apperception mass. An idea, however trivial, 
that may have the good fortune to belong to one of 
those dominant groups, has the power of recalling .the 
whole group the moment it gets a footing within the 

This may all seem very like that barren set of 
theories we used to learn at college under the name of 
the Laws of Association. And if the above were the 
whole of the Herbartian theory, the resemblance might 
be maintained. But there is a difference between ex- 
plaining why a certain idea has arisen in the mind, and 
why that idea rather than another has arisen in the 
mind. 1 utter the word Oarli»le : up to the very sum- 
mit of the dome of consciousness of as many as hear 
me, there springs an idea carrying with it a more or less 
numerous company of correlated ideas. One finds his 
mind iilled with geographical ideas. " Exactly," siiys 
the associationist ; " the law of eontignity holds here." 
Another thinks of Sartor Resartus. " Precisely," says 
the associationist, rubbing his hands ; ■ " law of similar- 
ity — two sounds alike, the town and the man." A 
third thinks of the church at home, which does not 
happen to be at Carlisle. " Thought you had me that 
time," chuckles the associationist. " Why, there's 
nothing easier. Carlisle, name of Psalm tune, village 
choir, village church. Any more difficulties ? " 


Well, yes, there is a. trifling little difficulty. The [ 
associationist has explained very clearly why each of 
those ideas has come into the dome of consciousness 
in which it is found ; but he neglects to explain why 
the same idea did not follow the same word in each 
case. Why does one man think of a map, another of 
a book, a third of a church ? It is not a matter of 
mere knowledge. Most people know what a map is 
and a church ; and the least literary among us knows 
at any rate the name of Sartor Rexartuii. Why doea 
the word Oarlisle call up different ideas in different 

This problem Dr. Thomas Brown ' tackled in his 
theory of the Secondary Laws of Association, not 
entirely successfully, it is true, but as successfully as 
his system ^vill admit of. For the fundamental weak- 
ness of his school becomes manifest in a problem of 
this kind. If ideas merely succeed each other, we can 
never understand how they act upon each other, if, 
indeed, we admit that they can act upon each other at 
all. The idea of the word Carlisle is in the neck of 
the hour-glass. The ideas of a map. Sartor Retartut, 
and the church at home are swarming about among 
thousands of others in the upper bulb of unconscious- | 

1 Fhilosophy of the Human Mind, Lact, 37. Led by the deinanda 
of hia subject and b; bia owd clear iatellect, Brown has anticipated to 
some extent the apperception iat position in his sixth law, and alao in 
his ninlb : " Copious reading and a retentive memory may give to an 
individual of very humble talent a greater profusion o£ splendid iinagea 
than existed in any of the individual minds on whose aublimo concep- 
tions he has dwelt till they have become In one senae of llie word his 
own." — p. 238, thirteenth edition. 


nesa. It is hopeless to try to discover which will come 
out, and why. 

By his system of grouping, Herbart establishes at 
least a plausible theory as to the mutual action of ideas 
in recalling each other. Utter the word spot to a 
child, and he naturally looks to his pinafore to note, 
and if possible explain. At the same sound a medical 
student's soul is filled with ideas about his microscopic 
examination. The picture of a dog of that name is the 
only answer to the sound in the soul of some young 
lady, while a billiard-player's soul does not rise above 
a certain marked hall. The reason is obvious. The 
idea of spot is connected in each case with a totally 
different apperception mass. There is here a complete 
absence of that sense of vague uncertainty that always 
accompanies the associative expianatiou of audi cases 
of recall. We are sure of our ground in exact pro- 
portion to our knowledge of the content of the soul 
in question. Not only is the explanation true aa it 
stands. It goes farther; for it maintains that not only 
will the word spot suggest the microscope to tlie medi- 
cal student, but it will do so even though it be origi- 
nally used in connection with some other idea. The 
young lady may have her attention aroused by the 
marked billiard ball, but her aoul at once dismisses 
the ball and welcomes the idea of her dog. All this 
will become clearer, however, after we have a fuller 
knowledge of the mechanism of those apperception 

To begin with, we want to know how apperception 
masses can begin to be formed at all. The ideas which 



make up those masses may be divided, according to I 
Herbart, into three great classes, as similar, disparate, j 
or contrary ideas. The idea of the taste of mustard to- 
day is practically identical with the idea of the taste of I 
mustard yesterday. Those two ideas are similar. The I 
taste of mustard is represented by an idea which is dif- 
ferent from the idea corresponding to the taste of sugar, , 
yet both are tastes. Those two ideas are contrary. 
The idea of the taste of mustard cannot be at all com- 
pared with the idea of the time of day. Those two J 
ideas are therefore called disparate.^ 

The only way in which ideas can become related to I 
each other is by being co-presented in consciousness. 
In this CO -presentation, ideas act differently according 
as they are similar, contrary, or disparate. When simi- 
lar ideas find themselves together in consciousness, they 
combine into a homogeneous whole, and by this com- 
bination become more powerful in resisting attempts ] 
to drive them out of consciousness. Under the same 
conditions disparate ideas also combine, but in a very 
different way. They do not form a unity in which each 
of the parts becomes indistinguishable, but they form 
a complex in which each part is fitted into the other 
so as to form a more or less complicated whole. Thus 
the idea of mustard that I have to-day, at once com- 

^ For several at the English equivalents for HerbHrt's technical 
terms used in this chapter, I am indebted to Mr. G. F. Stout, whose 
liuninoiu articles in Minii, 18SS, 1889, ISdl, give the best acconnt in 
English, so far as my knowledge goes, of the Herbartian Psffchology, 
pure and simple, apart from educational applications. It ia, indeed, 
pleaaant to Qnd for once a commentator whose work is leoll; cleaiar J 
than the text he expounds. 



bines with the idea of mustard that I had yesterday. 
The result is not a new idea, but a strengthening of the 
old one. This is called fusion.^ On the other hand, 
a patient who is ordered to suffer under a mustard ap- 
plication at certain regular intervals has a complicated 
idea, in which the ideas of mustard' and the time of day 
are combined without being commingled. This is not 
fusion, but complication.'^ 

Contrary ideas introduce a totally different form of 
action. In their case there is neither fusion nor com- 
plication, but actual opposition. The idea of the taste 
of mustard cannot coexist with the idea of the taste of 
sugar. Each wishes to drive the other over the thresh- 
old altogether, in order to enjoy the dome alone. It 
is true that we can think of pungent and sweet at the 
same moment, and thus we may imagine tliat we are 
combining the ideas of the two tastes. I5ut what 
really happens in this case is that we are confounding 
the common element in the two tastes, with the essen- 
tial element. When we think of sweet and pungent 
at the same moment, we are not dealing with the ideas 
of sweet or pungent at all, but only with the fact that 
tliere are two tastes which differ from one another, but 
which are still tastes. Suppose you try to realize in 
your mind the taste of mustard, in other words to raise 
the idea of mustard to the summit of the dome, you 
will find that in proportion as this idea becomes clear, 
the idea of the taste of sugar becomes obscured. If 
the idea connected with mustard is perfectly vivid, the 
other idea has disappeared altogether. 

^ Complication. 


We can now understand how rudimentary appercep- 
tion masses are formed. We know that disparate ideas 
can form complex ideas. Now suppose that two differ- 
ent complex ideas claim admission at the same time to 
the dome ; note what happens. Whatever is similar 
in both, at once combines ; whatever is disparate forms 
a new complex ; while the contrary elements oppose 
each other, and the fusion of the two complex ideas 
is said to be arrested at this point. This combination 
of fusion and arrest is the source of all the activity of 
the soul. 

To illustrate. Suppose a countryman for the first 
time sees, in a railway station, one of those two-wheeled 
barrows that porters use for conveying luggage. The 
idea of this barrow is a complex that seeks to hold the 
summit of the consciousness. No sooner does it rise 
above the threshold, however, than it calls up another 
complex, — the wheelbarrow with which the countryman 
is familiar at home. Tliere is at once fusion of the 
ideas of carrying, pushing before, two-handledness, 
woodeuness, and whatever other resemblances there 
may be. Some of the new circumstances are simple 
disparate ideas. The uniform of the porter, the nature 
of the load, the speed at which the barrow is pushed, 
are all different from those found in the familiar idea, 
but may be all eaaily combined with it, forming a new 
and wider idea of a barrow. On the other hand, the 
two-wheeledness of tlie barrow before him struggles 
with the one-wheeledness of the barrow at home. The 
two cannot be thouglit together. The countryman can 
readily combine the ideas of his barrow and this uni- 


formed porter. He cannot combine his idea of hia 
one-wheeled barrow with this two-wheeled one. One 
or other he can think of, but not both at once. The 
two complex ideas arrest one another at this point. 
Fusion and complication stop, and either the one or 
the two-wheeled idea wins, or the idea of the barrow 
stops short at the wheels. The same process takes 
place when the closed bottom of the country barrow 
is compared with the open bottom of the station 

Hitherto we have assumed that ideas do get, in some 
way or other, into the soul. We must now see more 
exactly how this comes about. Since there are no 
innate ideas, the ideas we find in the aoul must have 
got in tliere from without. Herbart has no back door 
into the aoul. Ideas come with him, as they do with 
other philosophers, from without through the senses. 
But since all the senses are open to influences from 
without, it is obvious that very many more ideas want 
to get into the soul than there is room for. Upon 
what principle, tlien, is admission to the dome regu- 
lated ? It is here that one of Herbart's most useful 
distinctions comes into play. Each idea may be re- 
garded from two points of view. It may be treated 
as something presented to the soul for its examiuation. 
In this sense it may be regarded as a part of the fur- 
niture of the soul. T]iis is the aspect that is usually 
present in the mind when the word idea is used by 
ordinary unreflective people. The idea of hor»e is 
something in the soul which we can think and talk 
about, and that is all, so far as the soul itself is con- 





cemed. To be sure, there is & whole world of quea- 
tions that may be raised about the relation between 

the horae in oui- soul and the horse in the street ; 
but these questions do not in this connection concern 
From this point of view the idea is regarded as 
presented content in the soul. It is something pre- 
sented, something to be considered, something passive. 
It is the idea viewed from the standpoint of the 

But the idea has another aspect. It may be regarded 
iS an active force, fighting its way as well as may be 
to the coveted place at the top of the dome. We no 
longer speak of the idea as presented content, but as a 
preaentative activity.^ As presented content the idea is 
subject to change, but only slowly and as the result of 
fusion and complication with otlier ideas. Our idea of 
hone gradually changes according to our widened expe- 
rience. As presentative activity, however, the idea is 
liable to rapid and violent change. For example, there 
is an idea in my mind at tliis moment, where it has suf- 
ficient presentative activity to occupy a place very near 
the dome-top, and yet in the soul of the reader it has 
not presentative activity enough to raise it over the 
threshold. When I write the word Koh-i-noor, the idea 
of that diamond at once acquires enough presentative 
activity to spring, for a moment at least, to the very 
summit of the dome of his consciousness. 

You are not to suppose that this idea, which a 
moment ago was entirely without the dome, had no 


presentative activity even in the shades of adversity. 
Every idea that has oace risen above the threshoUi has 
some presentative activity. The amount of this activity 
is what ditferentiates ideas. As presented content all 
ideas have an equal claim to the summit of the dome. 
In itself the idea of the Cosmos as an organic Unity has 
no more right to the highest place than has the idea of 
the tip of a lobster's pincers. Experience shows us, 
however, that certain ideas are much more frequently 
in the soul than others, and every time that an idea is 
recalled to the soul it strengthens its chance of being 
called in again. In other words, its presentative activ- 
ity is increased every time it rises above the tlireshold. 
To the philosopher the idea of Cosmos lias acquired 
quite a commanding presentative activity, so that the 
alightest auggeation ia sufficient to reinstate it at the 
very summit. Certain other ideas have also strong pre- 
sentative activity, though perhaps not so strong as 
Cosmos. (The nature of tlie ideas naturally varies with 
the school to which our philosopher belongs.) And so 
on we may go throughout the whole list of ideas that 
have ever entered the dome of the philosopher's con- 
sciousness. They all fall into a sort of hierarchy, ac- 
cording to their varying presentative activities. If this 
were all, the activity of the soul would disappear. For 
the most powerful idea would seize the uppermost place, 
and all the other ideas, in their varying order, would 
seize a place as high as their might entitled them to, 
till the threshold was reached, and alt the weaker ideas 
were thrust forever beneath. 

This obviously does not represent the actual state of 



affairs. No one idea holds for long the summit of the 
dome, just as no idea is forever excluded from the 
dome altogether. In some morbid states, indeed, an 
idea does take permanent possession of the dome of 
consciousness, with the result that all the ideas must 
take subordinate rank to it, and must bring themselves, 
by some means or other, into harmony with a state of 
affairs in which this idie fixe is the dominating prin- 
ciple. In ordinary healthy mental life, however, at 
any moment something may happen which increases the 
presentative activity of some insignificant idea, and 
sends it spinning up to the very summit. Let but our 
philosopher be a little incautious in a fishmonger's shop, 
and the idea of the tip of a lobster's nippers may most 
thoroughly unseat Cosmos from its place on high. 

It la clear, all the same, that in every aoul there is a 
sort of order -of -merit arrangement of the ideas, — an 
order often disturbed, but to which there is a strong 
tendency to revert as soon as any unusual influence has 
been withdrawn. The ideas are, indeed, in a state of 
unstable equilibrium, which is easily disturbed and as 
easily recovered. 

As soon as a new idea claims admittance, there arises 
a struggle. All the ideas within the dome that are 
friendly to the new idea do their best to raise it. All 
the contrary ideas oppose it, and try to arrest it. After 
the, struggle, a temporary equilibrium is gained, and the 
new idea is kept on, above, or below the threshold. 
If an idea at any moment occupy the one of those three 
positions to which it is really entitled in a state of 
equilibrium, the threshold in relation to that idea is 


Galled the gtatieal threshold,^ while i£ the condition of 
equilibrium demand that the idea should occupy a posi- 
tion other than it holds at any given moment, the thresh- 
old in relation to it is called the dynamical threshold.^ 

Thus an idea below the statical threshold is in its 
proper permanent place, and is exactly as if it did Dot 
exist, so far as the present content of consciousness is 
concerned. An idea below the dynamical threshold, 
on the other hand, is unduly depressed by the tem- 
porary activity of another idea or ideas ; it is there- 
fore of necessity rising, and will, in the state ot 
equilibrium, be above the statical threshold. 

Each idea, too, at any moment, has what is called Hs 
statical peint,^ — that is its degree of obscuration in 
equilibrium, — which Herbart believes can be accurately 
determined by "an easy calculation in tlie rule of 

The working of the whole mechanism may be well 
illustrated by the fortunes of the ideas of the different 
pieces during a game of chess. At the beginning of 
the game, the ideas will rank in something like the 
following order : king, queen, rooks, bishops, knights, 
and pawns, those last ranking in a definite order 
according to the particular form of opening favoured 
by the player. No sooner is tlic game begun than one 
of the pawns takes a higher rank than some of the 
pieces, and according to the fortunes of the game, now 
a. pawn, now a rook, has its presentative activity so 

1 Die slatisclie Schwelle. 

^ Die uiBchaniBchfl Scliwelle. -ftp., 1-19. 

B Der Btatiiiclie I'uakt. Fag.-, 1-11. 


quickened as to send it rigiit up to the siiminit of the 

The king himself must on occasion fall below the 
dynamical threshold, wlieu some pawn or piece has 
got into serious trouble. But his pi-esentative activity 
is ao great tliat the moment the trouble has disappeared 
he agains springs up into consciousness. This rising 
again into the dome through the mere disappearance of 
contrary or opposing influences is called immediate 
recall. When, on the otlier hand, one idea recalls 
another with which it has on a previous occasion been 
either fused or complicated, we have mediate recall. 

Tlie question of recall suggests the important problem 
of the state of ideas that are out of consciousness. 
With ideas, does out of soul mean out of existence ? 
Are they like the electric light that springs in and out 
of existence on the turning of a button ? They cer- 
tainly do not perish, as the possibility of their return 
shows. Do they then, in their outer darkness, make 
coalitions with each other in order to make- more cer- 
tain their return to the sunny realms of day, on the 
model of the "out" party in politics? llerbart'a view 
is that no idea below the statical threshold can exer- 
cise any influence whatever. Ideas, however, that find 
themselves below the dynamical threshold may exercise 
an, influence upon their more favoured Itrethren within 
the dome. This agrees with the experience moat of 
us have had of awakening in the morning with a clear 
knowledge of our surroundings, which were pleasant 
enough, and yet rendered dull by a miserable feeling 
that there was Homething wrong. Our present aur- 


roundings are the only ideas that as yet occupy the 
dome ; but the unremembered care, still below the 
dynamical threshold, influences all the ideas above it. 
The idea of the care is rising all the time, and it sends 
on its influence before. The same sort of thing occurs 
when certain words come to our minds, and we know 
that those words must be treated with respect. We 
do not, at the time, know why, but soon the idea of the 
person who uttered them (and whose opinion we re- 
spect) makes its appearance above tlie threshold. It 
was on the way all the time, and influenced our 
thoughts ; but it is not till the idea is actually there, 
that we recognize why we respected the words. 

Approaching the subject from a new side, let us take 
the case of an idea presented to the soul for the first 
time. The action of the soul upon tliie new idea is 
influenced, indeed practically determined, by the masses 
of ideas the soul already contains. This action is known 
by the name of apperception. There is no merit in the 
name, and assimilation might, as James suggests, do as 
well. It is necessary, however, to be very clear as to the 
exact meaning of whichever term we adopt. Steinthal 
defines it as "the union of two mental groups, inj^o_far 
as it gives rise to a cognition." With this, Mr. Stout 
so far agrees, but he seeks to add something. Hia defi- 
nition runs "the process by which a mental system ap- 
propriates a new element, or otherwise receives a fresh 

The final clause is introduced to indicate this author's 
distinction between what he calls anoetic consciousness, 
* Analytic Fsychnlogi/, Vol. II. 



and noetic synthesis,' He complains that Herbart 
speaks of ideas apperceiving each other, which implies 
the paradox that ideas " observe or take cognizance of 
each other," While admitting the justice of the criti- 
cism, we cannot do more here than notice it. For us 
the important thing is, that in the Herbartian Psychol- 
ogy, since apperception means the acting upon a new 
idea by all the ideas at present in the soui, and since 
the number and arrangement of ideas in no two souls 
are exactly alike, it follows that no two persona can 
have precisely the same idea of anything. 

If Herbartianism did nothing more than emphasize 
the fact that no two people ever have exactly the same 
idea, and particulai'ly that no master and pupil can 
ever have the same idea, it would justify its existence. 
Teachera are quite well aware that children do not 
understand big or unusual words; but teachers too 
often fail to consider that in the case of words with 
which children are perfectly familiar, there may, there 
must, be a different idea in the child's mind from that 
in the master's. 

No doubt it may be objected that this is admitted in 
the prevailing Froebelian principles. Nothing is com- 
moner among kindergartners than the cry for things, 
not words. As a matter of fact, this cry would only 
substitute one fallacy for another, hut in the meantime 
let that pass. What interests us here is, that things 

1 With Ibis diBtinctlon compare Wundl'a definition ; "Der Eintritt 
einer Voratellung in daa innere Bllckteld woUen wir die Ferceplion, 
ihren Eintritt in den Blickpunkt die Apperception nennen." — Grundr 
iSge der Fhysiologiachen Paychotogie (1880), Vol. II., p. 206. 


are not a whit better than words, in ensuring that the 
same idea shall be called np in two ntindB. Almost 
every teacher thinks that when he has shown a thing to 
his claBS, he has done the highest, the best, the ultimate, 
in teaching. Yet listen to Jacotot. " What is a mas- 
ter?" he aska scornfully. "Isn't he a man who asks 
another — Don't you see what I am showing you?"^ 

Being in an oratorical mood, Jacotot does not pause 
for a reply. Tlie schoolmaster in his work is not in such 
a hurry, and insists upon an answer to this question, 
" Don't you see what I am showing you ? " Naturally 
the boy saya "yes," and equally naturally his answer is 

The average child does not see what the master is 
showing him. Froebelianism drives the t«acher from 
words to pictures, from picturea to models, from models 
to actual objects, and, after all, Herbartianism cornea 
along, and points out that the living sheep that an en- 
terprising schoolmistress has set scampering about the 
floor of her infant room, does not ensure that teacher 
and pupil shall speak of the same idea, when they talk 
of a eheep. 

The popular notion is that knowledge has to be 
carefully prepared beforehand by the teacher, and then 
judiciously stuffed into n suitable place in the pupil's 
mind, a sort of mental left-luggage office, there to be 
left till called for. If the mind is not regarded as 
entirely passive in the process of acquiring knowledge, 
it is supposed to be active in nothing beyond the steve- 
dore work of lumping the cargo aboard. The mind is 
' Enseignemenl Utiiversel, seventh edition, p. 55. 



assumed to have as little power to change a fact that 
it is acquiring, as a quay labourer to ohange a granite 
block he is manipulating. 

The Herbart^an, on the other hand, has none of that 
reverence for hard facts, so characteristic of the " plain 
man." Each soul moulds its own facts : — 

Every man is his own fact-maker, whether he will 
[■ no. 

It is impossible to escape from the thrall of the irri- 
tating crew included under the general term *'Um 
ancJeatB." The modern who is wise does not make 
the aUempt, and is always prepared to have his theories 
traced ba^k to their primwy bacillus in Plato or hia 

A very rudimentary knowledge of Greek Philosophy 
is enough to prevent us from regarding this faet^uaking 
theory as any new thing. It has been said before in 
somewhat different woi'ds, and the echo of the original 
saying has kept rolling down through all the ages to 
the present day. 

Through the philoaophie quagmire that oorrespouds 
to the phrase " relativity of knowledge," I am reluctantly 
compelled to invite my reader to pass in the hope of 
reaching iirm ground beyond. 

The trouble appears to have begun when - Protagoras 
felt called upon to maintain that " Man is the measure 
of all things, of tJiings that are that they are, oi things 
that are not that they are not." Those who wish to 


throw the blame farther back atill, have only to call in 
Heraclitua with his "eternal flux of all thinga," but 
Protagoras will probably serve our purpose aufBoiently 
well. In his criticism Plato admits that Protagoras is 
right 80 far aa sense impressions are concerned, but 
denies any wider application of the "measure," 

Common sense and modern science agree with Plato. 
It is ttue that in Reid's comfortable dogmatism we are 
assured that we perceive the outer world exactly as it 
is, and therefore we all perceive it alike. But Locke 
admits that the outer world may be modified in certain 
aspects, — colour, smell, sound, taste, — but in other 
more fundamental respeeta remain unchanged. Ac- 
cording to this view, man is the measure of colours, 
smells, aounda, and taatca, but not of sizea and shapes. 
As to the negative part of this proposition there is 
difference of opinion ; but the truth of the positive part 
is universally acknowledged. 

Though man is thua admitted to be the measure of 
all thinga of sense impression, he ia only a measure for 
himself. As a standard of measurement, he is there- 
fore a failure, and ingenious people have been driven 
to attempt to reduce human measures to a com- 
mon denominator. Certain forms of sense impression 
lend themselves readily to arithmetical calculation. 
Colours and sounds vary according to the number of 
vibrations within a given time, and it has been found 
possible to fix a, maximum and a minimum of vibrations 
for each individual within which the sense operatea, 
while above and below those limits the vibrations pro- 
duce no effect. The difference between individuals as 



thus tested is sometimes very great, amovmtiiig to 
thousands of vibrations per second. Instruments are 
being invented and perfected for still more accurately 
determining such differences. To this class belong the 
algometer and the plethismograph mentioned in last 

Every one is familiar with the fact that observers in 
astronomical stations have to be examined in order to 
get what is called their "personal equation." This 
indicates the rate of speed at which a disturbance 
passes along the nerves to and from ttie brain, and the 
relative slowness or quickness has to be allowed for in 
all calculations based on the observations of the person 
whose " personal equation " is in question. 

The familiar use of this convenient phrase aa trans- 
ferred to all sorts of eireumstanees, is a kind of philo- 
logical argument in favour of Protagoras' doctrine as 
applied beyond the sphere of mere seuse impression. 
This supports the Herbartian doctrine which applies 
Protagoras' principle even in cases in which the sense 
impressions do not differ. Assuming the impossible 
case of two men who have their whole physical organi- 
zation absolutely alike, we cannot assume that they will 
apperceive the same idea in absolutely the same way. 
The way in which an idea is apperceived depends upon 
the ideas already in the apperceiviug soul, and the man- 
ner in which they are arranged in that soul. As this 
can never be exactly the same in any two souls, it 
follows that no two persons can ever have precisely 
the same idea of anything. No doubt in certain oases 
the difference may be very slight, yet identity is im- 



possiUe; while wide differenoes are the rule, not the 

It may be objected that if tliis be so, ibe work of the 
world could not be carried on ; we wiiuld always be at 
cross-purposea with each other. Language would be- 
come an impossibility if we did not attach the same 
meanmg to the terms we rme. 

When we w^h to express the «ztretne of coatentious 
eontradiction oa the part of any one, we say ihaX he 
would maintain that black wasn'hJte. Yet tiiis classic 
case of absolute differeooe might, for all we know to 
the ooBtrarj, represent merely a differeuce of apper- 
ception naasHes. What is black to me may appear 
white to you, and yet neitlier of us know that he has a 
coooeptiou different from thu other. Whwi I utter the 
word blackt the impFeaBioo wMte may altvays arise ia 
your soul ; when I say white, the opposite. One is opt 
to sa^pose at first sight tliat the ordinary intercourse 
of life could not be carried on without at ouee brii^ing 
to light tlie difference between our impKessions. 

But consider. You ask me to black your boots, -uid 
expect ma to Im-ing the whiting pail to do it witlu But 
you forget that your black boots appear to me to be 
white, so I get my whiting bottle, which is your black- 
ing bottle, ajid no JjoubJe arises. In other worths, I 
call all white tilings Mack, and all black things white; 
and BO lung as I do this tjonsisteutly, no confusion can 

"■ We called t^ cliess-board black, we cail it white." 

Further illustration of this point will be given later. 

In the meantime it is important to ubsetve tliat affper- 


ception is not mere perception. It is perception in tke 
light of the whole present content of the tout. The whole 
available apperception massea of the soul fall upon the 
new material, and work it up into a new compound. 

Each new idea that enters the aoul either encounters 
friends there or straightway falls under the threrfiold. 
When I write the word hiro, tlte idea that rises in re- 
sponse, in the soul of the reader, jirobahly meets no 
welcoming idea, and if no more be said, the idea of hiro 
wanders slowly down and down till it disappears below 
the threshold, in all probability never to return. Bat 
if I tell you that it is the only Red Indian verb I know, 
yon a.t once find it a place in tlie apperception mdas 
which is gathered round the idea Red Indian ; tJw 
apperception maaa connected with verb also hurriea up 
to weloome the new idea. When yoa are told further 
that the meaning of the word is " I have spoken," a, 
fresh set of apperception masses begins to take an 
interest in the new idea. One of those masses has to 
do with grammatical constructions and with vocal 
sounds ; another, and in this case ttie more important, 
deals with Fenimore Cooper and liis braves, who always 
conclnde tlieir speeches, as every well-educated achool- 
boy knows, with the classic worda, the sort of Red 
Indian Amen — I have spoken. When tlie further in- 
formation ia aupplied that tliis word was used by the 
Mohawks, and that the Frenchmen who first came in 
contact with this troublesome tribe, misled by the fre- 
quency with which the word was used, thought it had 
something to do with the name of the people, and 
called them Iroquois, tlie chances are tint the word 


hiro will represent an idea that has a £rm hold in the 
mind, and that thereafter it will have sufficient preaent- 
ative activity to spring into the dome as soon as any 
of its newly formed acquaintances make their appear- 
ance there. 

We see that the same idea holds a place in very 
different apperception masses. It may belong to sev- 
eral powerful masses, and to many feeble masses. But 
in those masses it may occupy a very different place. 
Take, for example, the idea Herhart, whieh we will 
assume to have been just now apperceived; that is, it is 
taken into your mind and has had its place fixed among 
the ideas there assembled. Take the case of a young and 
not very well-read teacher. In his mind Herbart takes 
ita place in the apperception mass that clusters round 
the idea of school management. In that mass the idea 
holds rather a high rank, and as often as school man- 
agement holds the dome of consciousness the idea of 
Herbart has an exceedingly good chance to reach the 
summit. But the idea also has a place in other ap- 
perception masses where its rank is of the humblest. 
It holds a very subordinate place in the mass that in- 
cludes lectures of all sorts ; it hovers over the surface 
of the mass that centres in biography ; it has a very 
slight claim on the mass gathered round tlie idea of 
man in general ; it holds an average place among the 
dense masses that represent the dimly known and none 
too pleasant. 

In the mind of the well-informed teacher the idea of 
Serbart has a much better chance. It ranks in the 
apperception masses corresponding to Germany, phi- 


losophers, educationists, theorists, faddists, training, 
American Revieio, De Garmo, Froebel, Socrates, and an 
etcttera that would require a volume to fill out. 

On this view the function of the teacher becomes 
clear; for, unlike most Psypbologies, Herbart's has an 
obvious and immediate bearing upon education. The 
soul is in the teacher's hands, inasmuch as the apper- 
ception masses can be made and modified by the 
teacher. The mind is no doubt active, very active, but 
this activity can be regulated by wliat has gone before 
in the experience of the soul in question. 

This word aetieity has been used by writers on this 
subject in a very loose way, so loose, indeed, that Bradley 
calls it " scandalous." To keep our position clear, we 
cannot do better than adopt the definition of G. F. 
Stout in his Analytic Psychology: "Mental activity 
exists when and so far as process in consciousness is 
the direct outcome of previous process in conscious- 
ness,"^ If the mind is active in this sense, it is hard 
to find room for any interference on the part of the 
teacher. But Stout a few pages farther on goes on to 
say " It is impossible to find any bit of mental process 
which is determined purely from within."^ 

Given a certain idea, the soul must act upon it in a 
certain way, and with this the teacher cannot interfere. 
The present process of consciousness is determined by 
previous processes. The child who comes to school at, 
say, five years of age brings with him an enormous 
number of limitations of the teacher's power. Every 
idea in that little head is a force with which the teacher 
> Op. cit., p. 1*8, Vol. I. ' Page 166. 


must reckon. His first duty is obviously to discover 
as mueh as poseible about the contents of John's soul. 
Only so far as he saceeeds in this is he able to under- 
stand the reaction of John's soul upon any given idea. 
The very inevitable ness of the soul's reaction is the 
teacher's chief aid. Here he finds the fulcrum for his 
lever. The rest of bis work is actual building up, 

Herbart's view of the comparatively greater activity 
of the ideas than of the soul on which they react is 
quite in keeping with the statements of writers of op- 
posing schools. The associationists always admit that 
the aoul is far from being the master of its ideas. 
Then, in his Prhbeiples of Psffchology,'^ W. James quotes 
with approval from Hodgson aiid Bain. Says Hodg- 
son : " Volition has no power of calling up iniagos, but 
only of rejecting and selecting from those offered by 
spontaneous redintegration."^ Bain's statement is: 
"The outgoings of the mind are necessarily random. 
The end alone is clear to the view, and with that there 
is a perception of the fitness of every passing sugges- 
tion. The volitional energy keeps up the attention on 
the active search, and the moment that anything ir 
point rises before the mind, it springs upon that like 
a wild beast upon its prey." 

It is difficult to overestimate the importance of this 
view from the teacher's standpoint. If the mind must 
wait till the right idea comes along, what an enormous 
iioportance must be attached to the theory of appercep- 

> PBfiE G9P, Vol. r. 

< H«<l^oD uses the term in tbe K&miltoiiiaii aenae. 


^M tiiM masses. If the iile% ttiHt the aottl ought to clitoose^ 
H is not there to choose, what can tlie B(m\ do bat choose 
^M amisti? Here Herb artian ism appears to great advan- 
^B tage. Doring the process of education wh«n the soul 
H happens to be on the lookout for a certain idea, the 
^1 teaeher, knowing w^Kit is going on in the soul, and the 
H laws aGcordiag to which its meclianism works, can 
B readili|r increase the presentative activity of the idea in 
■ question, said send it right up to the dome, where, a» 
B Bain wcMild say, it is seizeil as by a wild beast, and 

In the other and more important case, the case of the 
pupil who has finished what is known as his education, 
the results of the Herbartian method are seen to even 
greater advantage. The best-educated human being is 
he wbo bA» the biggest and beat-ftrranged apperception 
masses dealing with the life he is likely to lead. Take 
the case of a yonmg doctor before a sndden " accident " 
case. If he eannot at will call up the idea that ia 
likely to be of most service to him, but can recogni^re 
it when it appears, it obviously follows that he is 
utterly dependent on his masses. If the right idea 
does not form part of one of his important masses, it 
may never reach the threshold at all, or only too late to 
be of any practical use. A (teetor'a nsefulness, then, 
depends no* merely upon the number of i<leiis he has in 
his souil, but akio and even more njutn the way in which 
they have been grouped so as to suggest each other at 
the proper moment. So with what is usually known as 
conduct, in the moral sense. What do we mean when 
we say that a man is under temptation ? Is it not simply 


a name for the state of a man within whose soul paaseii 
a series of ideas each seeking realization, yet each, re- 
garded from a certain point of view, evil ? If powerful, 
compact, wellnarganized masses of moralideus are present 
in the mind, the isolated, though intrinsically powerful, 
ideas of evil are rapidly dismissed. The momentary 
presentative activity of the evil idea sends it momen- 
tarily over its dynamical threshold up to the very sum- 
mit, but equilibrium is soon restored by the contrary 
ideas of good arresting the evil idea, and allowing the 
idea of good to rise into the dome by immediate recall. 
The state of a soul that is ill-supplied with good ideas 
calls for little comment. Sueli a soul can hardly be 
said to be tempted. The aoul must be continually 
choosing among the ideas presented to it, and if the 
supply of good ideas is inadequate, it must of necessity 
choose the evil. 

Dr. Paulhan has, by quite a different route, arrived 
at pretty much the same conclusions as Herbart in the 
matter of the systematization of ideas. Starting from 
the English association position, with which he was once 
in full accord, he worked his way to his two great laws. 
First, the law of systematic association: " Every psychi- 
cal fact tends to associate to itself, and cause to develop, ' 
the psychical facta which may harmoniie with it, which 
may strive with it towards a common goal or for 
complementary ends, which, along with it, may be able 
to form a system." ^ 

The second law deals with inhibition or arrest: 
" Every psychical phenomenon tends to prevent the 
' L'Activiti Mentale, p. 88, 


production or development, or to cause the disappear- 
ance of psychical phenomena which cannot be united to 
itself according to the law of systematic association, 
that is to say, which cannot be united with it for a 
common end," ^ 
Those two laws, with the principle of finality to bind 
them together, give Paulhan a system that practically 
coincides with Herbartianism, and which, while thus 
strengthening the Herbartian conclusions, should also 
diminish the Herbartian pretensions. 

»On yet another point recent Psychology is quite in 
accord with the Herbartian. The mind is no longer 
regarded as a mere succession of states. The word 
continuum, as foimd in Ward and elsewhere, has become 
popular. We do not now treat each thought as it 
arises as the whole content of the soul at that moment. 
Oliver Wendell Holmes makes a marvel of our having 
three distinct trains of thought going on at the same 
time. There is the surface thought as represented by 

I the not too interesting conversation that we are carry- 
ing on; underneath is the series of reflections in which 
we criticise the man who is boring us with his talk and 
pity ourselves for having to make talk to him; at the 
very depths of our being is the growling refrain of 
duty neglected, warning us that all this upper talking 
is very well in its way, but if we do not mind we shall 
be "Late at Lecture, Late at Lecture." 
What Holmes treats as very wonderful is now the 
commonplace of Psychology. We, indeed, push the 
thing farther, and ask why stop at three trains of 
' L'ActivUe Xentale, p. 221. 


thought? Why should we limit the number at all? 
We used to smile incredulously when we read of 
Cfesar doing four things at once, but Psychology has 
got far beyond that stage, and tells us weird tales 
of consciousness being divided up into perfectly inde- 
pendent sections, which can be switched off and on 
after the fashion of the electric light. 

Interesting as this ill- understood pathological hypno- 
tism may be, it does not as yet concern us. The nor- 
mal consciousness, with which alone the teacher has to 
do, may remain an organic whole, and yet admit of the 
coexistence within it of ideas in very different stages 
of clearness. Writers whose general principles are 
quite opposed to those of Herbart have adopted a clas- 
sification of ideas thoroughly in keeping with his theo- 
ries. Professor James figures consciousness under the 
form of a wave, and Professor Lloyd Morgan, in his 
a,dmirahle Introduction to Comparative Psychology, works 
out this figure in all its details, and even goes the 
length of giving a plan, elevation, and cross-section of 
the wave of consciousness.^ All ideas that are on the 
pointed crest of this wave are said to he focal; all idea& 
in the body of the wave are classed as marginal or sub- 
consciiJus. At a certain depth the wave is crossed by 
a line, named in Herbartian language the Threshold 
of Consciousness, Below the threshold the wave is 
still continued, but the ideas in this portion are labelled 
infra-oonacious or extra-marginal. "This infra-conscious- 
ness," he says,^ "is, in my view, not merely nega- 
tive but something positive and existent — what, for 
1 Op. cit., pp. 13 and 14. > Ibid., p. 34. 



want of better terms, we may call the not-yet or not- 
quite conscious, and yet of the same order of existence 
as that which lies above the tlireahold." AU this is 
quite in the lines of the Herbartian system, even to 
the infra-conscious elements which clearly correspond 
to ideas below the dynamical tlireshold as opposed to 
those under the statical,' 

It must be remembered that Professor Morgan ex- 
plains his phenomena on quite other principles than 
those found in Herbart. But those principles, impor- 
tant and interesting as they undoubtedly are, do not 
concern us here, any more than do the mathematical 
parts of Herbart's Psychology, which we have up till 
now shamefully neglected. Herbart believed that the 
whole of the mental action and reaction could be set 
forth in mathematical equations. This, indeed, is a 
fundamental part of his system, as set forth in the title 
of his Psychology as a Science founded for the First Time 
on Experience^ Metaphi/sics, and Mathematics. Even if 
Kant were wrong in his demonstration of the impossi- 
bility of ever reducing Psychology to the ranlc of an 
exact natural science, Herbart was premature in his 
attempt. Thirty-six yeara more were to elapse before 

' The community between the two systems is further shown by the 
ease with which both may be applied to the uceda o! education. In 
his practical and, despite the subject aud title, most interesting J^y- 
chotom/ for Teachers, Professor Moi^an has laid down a body of 
educational principles which might have very well been built upon 
HerbartJan foundations. The boolt ia of great value in itself, but 
from our point of view it has the additional advantage of establishing 
our positions by the indirect evidence of a writer who liaa come to his 
conclosions by an entirely different line of argument. 



Fechner succeeded in failing in the same enterprise ; 
and even yet there are those who are not quite sure 
that Psychology has attained to the accuracy of the 
unanimous science of Numbers. In any case, we find 
it convenient to omit this part of Herhart's work alto- 
gether. His involution and evolution of thought by 
numbers, and his arrangement of ideas in series, have a 
terribly convincing air to the non-mathematical mind. 
But my readers will be happier without this side of 
Herbart, though no doubt the old philosopher would 
turn in his grave did he know that we were dropping 
what he considered the most essential part of his work. 
It is not given even to mathematical philosophers to 
understand fully the Perspective of Life, 




" All babies are bom good," saya Lord Palmerston,^ 
echoing the sentiment that with Rousseau passed for 
philosophy, and that Wordsworth worked up into 
standard poetry. It is true that the Chinese, with 
that exasperating way of theirs, have anticipated this 
thought, and embodied it in their first reading-book. 
What we regard as a rather smart remark they have 
reduced to the lowest level of the commonplace ; for 
the very first sentence a little Chinaman reads in his 
Standard I. Celestial Reader is : — 

" Men at their birth are by nature radically good," 

Long before this opinion gained ground in the West," 
at an early period in the world's history, when wisdom 
must have been much more uncommon than now (out- 
side of China, be it always understood), a certain Bias 
of Friene earned his place among the Seven Wise Men 
of Greece by proclaiming the depressing truth : Moit 
men are bad. 

Any teacher who ventures to place those two state- 
ments side by side, and draw the natural inference, 
must feel called upon to take his place in the dock and 
plead. For the period between babyhood and manhood 
' Vide spencer, Edueation, p. DO. 
'■p. V. N. Fainixi, Hiitorji of Education, p. 12. 


is preciaely the period for which the teacher is responsi- 
ble. If we spend our lives in turning good babies into 
bad men, then is our craft, indeed, in danger. 

Before putting in the necessary plea of " Not guilty," 
we would question the validity of the charge. Before 
trying a man for murder, it is well to see that the 
corpse is really dead. Ab a. provisional plea, we admit 
that we are responsible for the school life of the afore- 
said baby who has turned out a bad man — quoad ultra, 
denied. In other words, all babies are not born good, 
and most men are not bad. Certainly the babies who 
come to our schools have left far behind them the 
clouds of glory they are credited with trailing after 
them from the higher realm from which they have 
come. As a counter plea, if we were ill-natured, we 
QiigLb carry the war into the enemies' country, and 
bring up the artillery of the good old-fashioned doc- 
trine of Original Sin. In the light of Total Depravity, 
we can not only throw off the responsibility for the 
most men who are bad, but we may actually claim 
some, at least, of the credit for the minority who are 

All this we feel to be mere skirmishing ; but there 
are those who take the matter more seriously. The 
Jesuits are said to have proclaimed tliat if they were 
entrusted with the first seven years of a child's life, 
they cared not who attended to the remainder of his 
education. He would he a Jesuit to the end of his 

> Cf. ComeniuB, G'reaC i^docffc. Chap. V., where he quotes Seneca : 
" Man is not good, but becomes so, as, mindful of hia origin, he strives 
toward equality with Qod." 


days. Comenius, too, expressed the opinion of a large 
section of the teachers of his time, when he said that 
the main work of a school is man-making. " I caE a 
school that fulfils its function perfectly, one which is a 
true ofieina hominum"^ a man manufactory. 

Uncomfortable tales, alao, come floating up from 
antiquity to ahow that old world opinion was strongly 
on Comenius' side. We have ail heard, not without 
indignation, of the "whipping boy," whose unhallowed 
hide paid the penalty every time his young master, the 
Lord's Anointed, strayed from the paths of virtue. 
But there are darker tales still, and of more evil omen 
for us, which tell of masters being punished for the 
sins of their pupils — a most objectionable form of pay- 
ment by results. In China, where we have seen that 
men are " by nature radically good," the master aeems 
to be held personally responsible for any change in this 
highly desirable state of affairs. With a fine devotion 
to logical consistency, those Chinamen, in eases of parri- 
cide, execute, we are told, not only the pamcide himself, 
but also bis teacher. 

On Froebelian principles it is certainly very irra- 
tional to hang a master because his pupil has committed 
a murder ; but if Herbart is to be followed, the case for 
the master is not so clear. This matter decidedly needs 
looking into, and must be settled before we commit 
ourselves irrevocably to Herbartianisra. We must run 
no risks in choosing our Psycliology. 

Since the soul of the pupil has originally, according 
to Herbart, " no capacity nor faculty whatever, either 
' The Great Didactic, Chap. XI,, sec. 1. 


to receive or to produce anything," since all changes in 
this soul result from its reaction upon ideas presented 
to it, and since the master can clioose the ideas to be 
presented, and can modify and arrange them, there 
seems to be a primd facie case, for those who wish to 
hang the teachers of bad men. 

We may, indeed, — as most educators do, — decline 
to accept Herbart's metaphysical conception of the 
soul, while firmly holding to his psychological posi- 
tions. Yet even with this limitation, the Herbartian 
theory brings with it an enormous responsibility for 
the master. 

Rousseau shirks this responsibility by allowing the 
child to grow up without any interference. The main 
duty of the teacher during the early years of tlie 
pupil's life is — as our school-management books take a 
special pride in repeating — to learn how wisely to lose 
time. The teacher is not to educate the child; he is 
merely to answer questions and give such explanations 
as are asked. A French cynic tells us that a cat does 
not caress us ; it only caresses itself against us. In 
Rousseau's system of education, the master exists to be 
rubbed against. Such a master should run no danger 
of hanging, even in China. One does not whip the 
teething coral when the baby breaks the milk bottle. 

The Froebelian is equally safe. If the teacher is but 
a benevolent superintendent of the process of develop- 
ment which he allows to follow its own course, he can- 
not with any show of justice be hanged. We must on 
Froebelian principles go back many generations before 
we find a fit subject for the hangman. 


The Herbartian cannot adopt either of those safe 
plans. He must do positive work. To do nothing 
may be as harmful as to do something positively evil. 
To refrain from regulating the supply and organization 
of ideas, results as certainly in a bad soul as to supply 
useless ideas badly arranged. He who is not for the 
child is against him. Nor are there any innate facul- 
ties behind which the teacher may shelter himself and 
hide his bungled work. There must be no complaints 
against the quality of the material supplied. In ao far 
as the master is the sole educator of the child, in so 
far is he directly responsible for the kind of child 
turned out. If a teacher really wishes to magnify his 
office, and is not afraid to pay the price, he cannot do 
better than turn Herbartian. 

It is not enough to smile at this man-making theory. 
Even a sneer is not quite satisfactory. It is to be 
remembered — and this argument ought to soothe the 
votary of common sense — that the experiment has 
never been made. " Psychology may not experiment 
with men," ' saya Herbart, and though exception may 
be taken on certain grounds to the general application 
of the restriction, there will be unanimous consent that 
certain direct experiments will not be tolerated. The 
beginnings of language, the nature of sense perception, 
the relation between perception and conception, would 
all be much better understood if we were but allowed 
to make a few direct experiments, which might involve 
some sacrifice of natural human development. But 
the times that Herodotus so simply describes are past, 
' Psy., Intro., 4. 


and HQoh experiments axe no longer possible. But 
there are other causes why the experiment of man- 
making has not yet been tried. The experiment would 
probably not be to the advantage of the subject, but it 
certainly could only be performed at an enormous out- 
lay of time and labour on the part of the experimenter. 
Not till we are ready to act upon the hard saying of 
Froebel, "Let us live for our children," can the experi- 
ment be tried. It is Hterally a case of a life for a life. 
The teacher would require to devote absolutely every 
moment of twenty-one years to the pupil, in order that 
when the pupil came of age lie might be exactly the 
sort of man the master wished to make of him. Besides 
the terrible demand in the matter of time, the experi- 
ment could not be successful unless the master had 
the complete control of the pupil's environment. Obvl' 
oualy the experiment is out of the question. 

This is the less to be regretted that, even if success- 
ful, the experiment could have none but the most 
ghastly results. What happened to Frankenstein 
from the physiological side would happen to the Her- 
bartian from the psychological. The "man" thus 
made would be a monster — if not of badness, then of 
goodness, but none the less a monster. We could not 
deny the creature a soul, since the soul is given in the 
recipe for man-making, but the monster could have no 
power of spontaneoiis action ; it would be nothing but 
a good -going virtue machine. 

Even the very limited claims put forward in this di- 
rection at once draw down upon the teacher the most 
severe judgments. The critics want to know, since the 


HerbartiaiiB can make men, why they do not make a 
better job of them. Why are not all men honest, true, 
happy, and clever, if it is only a matter of supplying 
the proper ideas at the proper times? 

The very obvious reply is that even granting that 
man-making were possible, t/we knew the proper ideas 
and the proper times to apply them, it does not follow 
that we know either the suitable ideas or the fitting 
times. A man may surely claim to be a Herbartian 
without setting up to be omniscient. 

More moderate and sympathetic critics may not be in- 
clined to push the Herbartian principles to such extreme 
issues, yet are inclined to ask whether the position of 
soul-making does not imply a fundamental equality of 
the souls operated upon. "Are all men equal at birth?" 
such critics are wont to ask in a tone that suggests only 
one possible answer. One would think that nowhere 
outside of the Declaration of Independence could the 
assertion be found that all men are equal, and particu- 
larly no teacher could be expected to support such a 

Before going into the general question, it is worth 
while to note that Herbart has guarded himself against 
this criticism. The soul with which he starts has, no 
doubt, no capacity whatever, and therefore it may fairly 
be maintained that all souls are equal, at the start. This 
admission does not at all inconvenience the Herbartian. 
For the soul can only be roused to activity by its reac- 
tion upon ideas presented to it. These ideas must, in 
the first instance, be presented through the senses ; the 
senses depend upon the body, and Herbart did not 


maintain that the body haa no capacity nor faculty 
whatever — and the rest. There is thus plenty of 
room for the Herbartian to turn about in, without 
getting caught in the paradox. 

But, after all, is there anything so very heinous in 
the assumption that all men are born intellectually' 
equal? Does it amount to a reduetio ad abaurdum, 
when a system can be shown to involve the assertion 
that all men are born equal in intelligence ? 

The apparently absurd thesis of the initial equality 
of men is at least not left without its supporters. A 
witty German called Schweitzer, who had risen to a po- 
sition of some importance in France under the Latinized 
version of his name, Helvetius, published in 1758 a book 
entitled Be I'Ssprit. In it he explicitly states and fully 
works out the thesis that all men are born intellectually 
equal. With him all intellectual life, when reduced to 
its simplest elements, can be resolved into the interac- 
tion of sense impressions. All our higher functions of 
thought, feeling, desire, or will, are evolved out of, and 
may be expressed in terms of those sense impressions, 
wliich are indeed the ultimate elements, the final surds, 
of the Helvetian Psychology. Ignorant of the modern 
psychometric methods, unfamiliar even with the obvious 
application to Psychology of the physiology of the nerve 
centres, it is not so very wonderful that Helvetius fell 
into the glaring non-»equitur that since sense impres- 
sions are the foundation of all knowledge, and since 
we are all capable of receiving sense impressions, there- 
fore we are all at birth intellectually equal. 

Even a philosopher cannot aSord altogether to diare- 



gard the actual state of affairs, that state with which 
our experience makes ua familiar. In real life men 
differ so notoriously that Helvetius found it necessary 
to discover some explanation of the change from initial 
equality, to ultimate difference. For us his answer ia 
momentous. It is all a matter of education and environ- 
Tnent.^ Men are born intellectually equal, no doubt. 
But they soon begin to differ because of their varying 
desire for instruction. To stop with this explanation 
obviously impossible. Whence comes this difference 
desire, if all the souls are the same? Helvetius 
clearly reasoning in a circle, but he has the grace 
to see that his circle has an indecently small radius. 
Accordingly he proceeds to add an elongate r to 
his compasses. This desire for instruction originates 
he tells us, in the impelling force of passions, of which 
all men commonly/ well-organized are susceptible in the 
same degree. Maintaining a kindly blindness to the 
almost impudent begging of the question implied in 
the italicized words, we are still unable to see that any 
advance has been made. We are precisely where we 
started from. We want next to know how it comes 

1 " . , .la difffirenoe d'esprit qu'oQ remarque entr'eux depend des 
dlveraea circonstancea daiis leaqnelles ila se trouvent plactls, et I'Sduca- 
tion difi^rente qn'ils resolvent. Cette concluHioa fait sentir toate 
rimportance de I'Muoation." — Discours III. 

of It 

LTolty oi 


tlQOrlM." TblBH 

DB ridel 

•'oppownt. no progrSa qt 

ooclDdee thst Ike 


about that those pasBions to which we are all equally 
susceptible arouse in some of us a desire for instruction, 
and in others do not. 

The fact is that the book Be, VEeprit should never 
have been taken seriously. It was far from being a 
failure. Written to cause a sensation, from this point 
of view it was a brilliant success. For a few months 
it set all Europe by the ears, and roused a storm of in- 
dignation that wrung three separate recantations from 
the frightened author. Its short but merry life came 
to an untimely end at the hands of the common hang- 

What Helvetius maintained for the sake of effect, ' 
Jacotot, a teacher and a good one, adopted in dead 
earnest as a rational explanation of phenomena he had 
observed. Even the Bober-rainded Dr. Thomas Arnold, 
of Rugby, makes the remark that he finds boys differ 
not so much in intellectual power as in energy. The 
same observation in the experience of the enthusiastic 
Frenchman at once led him to make the absolute state- 
ment: "Tons les hommes ont une intelligence %ale." ^ 
]jike Helvetins, Jacotot held that the great differences 
we observe among men in mature life are the direct 
result of education; but with him education really 
meant self-education. We can all become Raoines and 
Moli^res if we only have the desire,' It is all a matter 
of will. The schoolmaster has very little to do with it. 

' Preface to Srat edition of Etaeignement Univertel. The refer- 
ences to the Enaeignemcitt Univerget are indicated by the pagea of the 
BBTeDth edition, dated Paris, 18G3. 

» Page 104. 


The " seven years' system," as he is never tired of nam- 
ing the course of school instruction common in his time 
(he died in 1840), does harm instead of good to the in- 
tellect subjected to it. In his letter to Lafayette he 
asserts : " Every one who is taught [by another] is 
only half a man," 

On the other hand, he ia bitterly opposed to the doc- 
trine that recognizes inherent powers that show them- 
selves independently of all education. " Away with 
Genius" is his continual cry. " Be it understood that 
the pupU is always to point out the fact that has in- 
spired this reflection ; otherwise he has wandered from 
the Universal Method of instruction. He works by 
Genius, that is to say, by groping and blindly : he is 
sure of nothing,"* 

While the ordinary forma of education are tedious 
and hurtful, the pupils must not presume to do with- 
out education altogether. They will get along all 
right without our help.^ But while "a master is never 
necessary to man," he is "infinitely useful "' to him, 
Jacotot takes up pretty much the same stand-by atti- 
tude as the Froebelians, but he has not their justifica- 
tion. He has no good reason why pupils should not 
educate themselves, yet he cannot let them alone. His 
attitude towards them amounts to this : " I cannot 
teach you, nor can any other one. You must, in the 
last resort, teach yourselves, but see that you do it 
according to the method I have laid down," This 

1 Page 131. 

" " Je dis que I'^lfeve ira bien sans vous." — p. 120, 


reminds one of Sganarelle's injunction to his patient 
to take care not to die witliout the doctor's orders. 

Leaving theory for a little, what does our actual 
experience tell ua of the equality of intelligence in tlie 
ordinary school? Dr. Stewart, one of Her Majesty's 
Chief Inspectors of Schools for Scotland, who is deeply 
interested in this matter and has had exceptional oppor- 
tunities of judging, gives it as his opinion that five per 
cent of clever boys and five per cent of dunces is an 
ample allowance. The remaining ninety per cent are 
average. If this be true of cliildren after several years 
of education at school, to say nothing of the first five 
years of home life (by far the most important in the 
formation of the child's mind and heart), there seems 
no primd facie objection to the theory of equality at 

Further, the estimated percentage of blockheads and 
clever pupils is determined according to a very narrow 
standard. The test is a purely literary one. If swim- 
ming were a test as in ancient Athens, or archery as 
in the knightly training, there might still be the five 
per cent of dunces and geniuses, but they would cer- 
tainly not be the same five per cent that our present 
test gives. It has become a commonplace that the dux 
at school is by no means the most likely to do well in 
after life,^ School calls out altogether different quali- 
ties from those demanded in what is known as real 
life. Every teacher can call up scores of cases in 
which the dull John has completely outshone the clever 
one. Simply to give point to an argument that no 
1 Cf. Jacotot'a sarcasm, p. SOO. 


teacher will oppose, think of young Walter Scott, the 
dunce of hia class, the boy who could never thoroughly 
master the Greek alphabet. So widespread was the 
tale of his early stupidity that poor Sir Walter in later 
years was forced with humorous pathos to maintain in 
his diary that he was not such a blockhead after all. 
No teacher, at least, will be unwilling to admit his plea. 
We know too well, that everything depends upon what 
the inspector takes John on. Had young Walter been 
tested on Scottish history instead of Greek characters, 
Biography would have had a different tale to teU. 

Eeverting to our five per cent of clever and dull 
children, we have to remark that the proposition is 
generally taken for granted " once a blockhead always 
a blockhead." In otlier words, the time element is 
usually left out in considerations of this kind. But 
cases are frequent in whicli a really dull boy suddenly 
brightens up, and others in which the genius seems to 
have burnt itself out in a boy. Physiology has a good 
deal to say on this subject. It may not be absolutely 
true that mental development advances in inverse ratio 
to the rate of growth of the body, but there is enough 
truth in it to modify the " always a blockhead " theory. 
How often do we see a sudden arrest of mental devel- 
opment accompanying a sudden spurt of bodily growth. 
Other things being equal, I would be prepared to back 
the undersized boy of a given age against his average- 
sized rival, and of course still more against the boy 
over the average. 

Passing from this poidt (which must be recognized 
as only one of innumerable physiological considerations), 


we come to a purely mentail phenomenon, which may 
be called, for want of a better name, mental conversion. 
In learning, as in religion, there are gradual conver- 
sions and sudden. A pupil may learn steadily, show- 
ing clear progress from day to day. But sometimes 
this happens : A boy may appear to be a perfect dunce 
at some particular subject. He seems to learn hard, 
but all to no purpose. He puffs and groans over his 
work, but makes no progress. The teacher sets him 
down as a hopeless case. Suddenly some morning 
John wakens up to a belief that he knows his subject 
at last ; and he does. He may be unable to parse, for 
example, and yet know the whole of his grammar by 
rote in a dull, unintelligent way. One fine morning 
the thing dawns upon him. He sees bow the affair 
works. He ean parse. 

Nursery psychologists tell us that something of the 
same kind may be observed among children in their 
youngest years. It usually happens that a child learna 
to apeak gradually and by well-defined stages. But 
oceasional cases occur in which the child remains 
practically mute for an inordinately long time, and 
then suddenly bursts out into loquacity. 

This mental conversion fits in very comfortably to 
the Herbartiau Psychology. Tlie necessary ideas in 
any subject are supposed to be duly introduced into 
the niind, but they have not been united in the proper 
way to produce the kind of knowledge we desire. The 
material is all gathered there, and only requires to be 
brought into the proper relation to produce the effect 
the master desires. Most people who have travelled 


by rail any distance on a rainy day have had a tangible 
iemonstration of the mechanism of mental conversion. 
We have alt beguiled the tedium of the journey by ob- 
serving the behaviour of the drops of rain that gather 
on the vfindow-panes of the carriage. Two or three 
biggish drops start from the top, and matte a more or 
less devious way for themselves down the pane. But 
most of them do not reach the bottom alone. Sooner 
or later they coalesce with some other drop or drops, 
and thus precipitate their descent. Not otlierwise do 
the isolated ideas act. Half a dozen little apperception 
masses may try to make headway, but ignominiously 
fail. Suddenly some unexpected jolt of the mental 
machinery may do what an unusual jolt of the carriage 
does for the drops, and a new and powerful group is 
formed which straightway modifies the teacher's views 
on the nature of the intellect in which this phenomenon 
has occurred. 

The teacher cannot afford to be so dogmatic as he 
usually is on the question of the inherent natural 
ability of his pupils. Even the least dogmatic teatSher, 
however, may be excused for shrugging his shoulders 
when Jacotot improves upon his original paradox and 
maintains^ that not only are all men equal in intelli- 
gence at the beginning of life, but they remain equal 
all along. Development of thought, in the usual sense, 
thus becomes impossible. " I believe that Ccesar as a 
child thought like C^sar on the banks of the Rubicon. 
I do not believe that thought grows little by little. 
Little Csesar thought of sweetmeats, and the adult 
i Page 208. 


Cfesar of crowns, but thought did not vary with its 
object. There are many things to be learnt — ^ which 
nothing can make ua guess — before knowing what 
a crown ia. May it not be that the cause of the 
common error arises from our confounding tliought, 
which is natural to us, with its expreasion, which ia an 
acquisition, and a habit which nothing but exercise 
can give ? " 

This view is put still more strongly when Jacotofc 
compares not Cassar the child with CEcsar the consul, 
but any child with any man. " We have not all the 
same tastes, the same dispositions, that is to say, the 
same will, but the smallest child has tlie same intellect 
as the adult Archimedes,"^ In other words, the differ- 
ence between Newton and an ordinary undergraduate 
who 19 ploughed in his mathematics is a moral differ- 
ence — a difference in will.^ 

While the will ia regarded as sufficient to account 
for all the differences wo observe among men, Jacotot 
does not forget that correlative condition of all devel- 
opment, — the condition that answers to the big and 
popular word environment. Listen to another of his 
paradoxes : " It ia precisely because we are all equal 
by nature, that we become all unequal by circum- 
stances." ^ 

Tastes, dispositions, and will being eliminated, it is 

1 Page 108. 

' Cf. HelTBtioB : " Cast done, unigQement d&ns le moral qa'on dcvit 
cberclier ta veritable cause de I'iD^litd dea esprits." — De I'Esprit, 
DUcours UI. 

■ Page 100. 


clear that what ia le£t may be called, in a popular sense 
at least, pure intellect. That thia intellect, considered 
apart from all the other elements of the soul, is equal 
among all men can hardly be denied, is hardly worth 
denying. When the process of elimination has been 
completed, we find that the intellect we have left does 
not amount to very much ; to no more, indeed, than 
. the simple undifferentiated being which represents the 
soul of the Herbartian Psychology. 

This intellect, too, must be eousidered apart from all 
ideas or matter of any kind; for as soon as ideas ap- 
pear, they necessarily bring in their train at least feel- 
ings, which at once introduce an element of difEerence. 
Jacotot has, in a word, emptied the soul of content, and 
has reduced it to a mere mechanism. That this intel- 
lect, if such an intellect can be said to exist isolated 
from all else, is equal "chez tons les hommes," one need 
not trouble oneself to deny. Such an intellect, though 
of great interest in educational tlieory, as we are about 
to see, is of no consequence in a discussion regarding 
the equality of souls. If men are born with different 
wills, they are not born equal in any important sense 
of the term, whatever may be said about a certain ab- 
straction called the intelligence. 

It is this abstract and comparatively unimportant 
meaning of intellect that underlies all the theories that 
seem to imply the mental equality of men. Jacotot 
claims that his views have the support of men like Soc- 
rates, Newton, Locke, Descartes, Rabelais, Rousseau, 
and Buffon. He goes further, indeed, and maintains 
that "Everybody applauds my theory in his inmost 


heart, so long as he thmks of himself. It is the appli- 
cation of my system to other folks that anuoya and 
worries people." Then he slyly adds : "I have never 
seen one man who opposed himself in person to the 
theory, or cited himself as an example of an idiot ; it 
is always a certain friend, a certain person of their 
acquaintance, wliora they present to me as a proof of 
the falsehood of ray principles," ^ 

To the extent stated above this claim of intellectual 
equality may be admitted. When thinking has been 
reduced to its lowest terms, there is a point at which it 
raay be said to be equal among all men. 

In plying his maieutic art, Socrates tacitly assumed 
the intellectual equality of all tliose whose thoughts 
he brought to the birth. The slave boy in the Meno 
reasoned out his problem as well as Euclid himself 
could have done, had Euclid been limited to the same 
scant knowledge as the slave boy possessed, Socrates 
asked his questions in the firm and justiiiabte belief 
that they would be answered in but one way." To a 
mathematical question, the terms of which are under- 
stood, there is but one answer possible. Thus we do 
not pause to get the assent of our pupils to the axioms 
that guard the entrance to Euclid. If John does not 
see his way to admit that things whicli are equal to the 

' EnteignemeiU Uiiiversel, p. 73 (Dijon, 1823). 

1 " ThuH Pythagoras used to say tliat it was so natural for a man to 
be posseaaed of all knowledge tliat a boy of seveu years old, if pru- 
dently questioned on all the problems of phitosopby, ought to be able 
to give a correct answer to each interrogation, since the bght of reason 
is a sufficient staudard aud measure of all things." — Cohmkius, iJreat 
Didactic, V. 6. 


same thing are equal to one another, we do not try to 
persuade him. We aend him home with a note which, 
aa gently as possible, breaks the news to his father. 

When Locke declared that he could not understand 
how honest, earnest men who understood the terms 
could disagree about any proposition, he assumed that, 
given a clearly expressed statement, no two honest men 
could disagree about it, since its effect upon the intelli- 
gence in both cases is the same.^ When Luther laid 
upon us all the burden implied in the right of private 
judgment, he really proclaimed the intellectual equal- 
ity of man, in the sense to which we have narrowed it 

Luther leads us upon the thin ice of theological con- 
troversy, so we hasten to skim over to safer quarters. 
We cannot work out Luther'a principle without intro- 
ducing disturbing elements with which we have no 
concern. Against the argument founded upon the 
system of trial by jury, no such objection can be raised. 
Every jury that is empanelled is a confession of our 
belief in the equality, in some sort, of all men. On 
what grounds do we regard the ignorant greengrocer 
and the learned biologist as intellectual equals the 
moment they find themselves, with other ten men, — 
or thirteen, as the case may be, — in the jury-box ? 

Even Jacotot would not maintain that in ( 

t "Being fully persuaded that there are very few tilings of pure J 

speculation wherein two tiiinhing men whu iiu]iartia11y aeek truth can I 

differ, if Ihey give tbemaelves the leisure to examina their hypotheses I 

and imderstuDd one another."— Letter to W. M., 26 Dec, 1092. I 

^_ Quoted by Quick. I 


life, and in common termB, those two men were equal, 

What difference, then, can the jury-box make ? It 
mates the important difference of reducing reasoning 
to a series of judgments. The juryman is not called 
upon to think, he is only required to judge. Thinking 
means, or ought to mean, more than a series of judg- 
ments. All that it means we dare not stop to inquire, 
but this at least it means, that the mind must arrange 
the matter presented to it, select the important, and 
reject the irrelevant. The mind must prepare its own 
syllogisms, instead of merely tagging on conclusions to 
other men's premises. The most popular speaker is he 
who keeps on supplying premises to which the audience 
keep on adding conclusions in the belief that they are 
thinking. This mechanical formulation of implied con- 
clusions is capitally illustrated by that exaaperating per- 
son against whom Thackeray inveighs, — the man who 
explains your joke. You have made your dainty point, 
you have deftly suggested your delicate idea, your cult- 
ured friends have given the appropriately restrained 
smile that indicates success. Five minutes afterwards 
your lumbering joke-expounder comes out with a bald 
statement of your joke which he regards as something 
entirely his own. He is simply supplying the inevitable 
conclusion to the premises on which even a joke must 
be built. 

There are few people who can truly think.' Take an 
ordinary intelligent ploughman, who reads hia Bible 
and his People's Journal, and set him down to think on 

' Ct. the Hympatbetic molloof Steiathai'a EinUltung : "Denken ist 


a given subject out of his usual nm of ideas, say on Con- 
scription ; and one of two things happens. His mind 
either wanders from the subject in hopeless reverie, or 
he falls asleep. He cannot think on Conscription. 

Placed in the jury-box, how does our ploughman 
fare ? Here he is not asked to think about the ease in 
hand. The judge and the lawyers do all the thinking 
for him. The facts for the prosecution and the defence 
are clearly stated by the opposing lawyers, and are 
supplemented by the evidence of the witnesses. The 
judge is careful to explain any strange or technical 
term that may occur, and the juryman is permitted to 
ask any reasonable question. At the close, the judge 
sums up the whole case, and reduces it to a simple issue 
of which all the terms are understood by the jury. 
Trial by jury is based on the principle tliat under such 
cireumstanees the jury can give but one decision. As- 
suming, as the law does, that the twelve (or fifteen) men 
are honest and true, it has a right to expect that their 
decision will be just. The fact that honest jurymen 
sometimes err is to be explained, not by denying their 
ability to decide on an issue clearly placed before them, 
but by laying bare some disturbing element in the way 
of interest or emotion. A judgment entirely free from 
the influence of feeling is almost an impossibility, but 
so far as such disturbing elements can be eliminated, 
all men under identical circumstances will decide alike. 

If the judge can be perfectly sure that he is able to 
reduce each of his points to an issue that presents 
precisely the same elementa to each juryman, he may 
with perfect confidence close each of his paragraphs 


with a decision, adding the words the miniiiter uses at 
baptisms : " That is your beUef, is it not ? " And every 
juryman's head would bow with the characteristic sud- 
denness that marks a first father. 

Unfortunately, this absolute uniformity of conceiving 
an issue is practically unattainable. Even a juryman 
brings to his work a certain amount of organized know- 
ledge, and must interpret all the presented facts in the 
Ught of this knowledge. If most people cannot think 
well, few people can avoid thinking at all. If the 
jury could either think well, or abstain from thiidting 
altogether, and restrict themselves to judging, trial by 
jury would not be so unpopular with honest lawyers 
as it undoubtedly is. 

This distinction between thinking and judging is of 
the utmost importance in teaching. Most teachers 
regard the simplification of a subject as one of their 
main functions, and will be surprised to hear it main- 
tained that it is possible to make a subject too clear. 
Yet if a subject is presented to a pupil in the form of 
a series of judgments to which his assent is demanded, 
there may be clearness, there may be intelligent appre- 
hension of each fact presented, there may be great 
interest in the lesson, and yet there may be little real 
thinking done. Mere assent to a series of propositions 
is not thinking. If the teacher has the skill to reduce 
all his facts to a well-ordered chain of logical issues, 
he may rely absolutely upon getting a true bill from 
his young jury every time. But a teacher is not a 
mere judge, his class not a mere jury. An ingenious 
mechanician has Invented a logic machine into which 


you feed premiaes, and from which, by turning a handle, 
you duly grind out the corresponding conclusions. 
How long must the patient experimenter turn the 
handle before he can educate the machine to t)iink ? 

The modern teacher, like the modern shepherd, must 
advance with the times. In the Sunday-achool, and in 
the East generally, the shepherd goes before his flock, 
who patiently and intelligently follow him. The shep- 
herd with wham common life makes na acquainted 
goes behind, and by the help of a stick and a dog 
makes the sheep hud the way he wishes them to follow. 
The older-fashioned teacher, hke the older-fashioned 
shepherd, goes before, and shows the way. The pupils 
certainly follow, but what they gain by following is 
not so clear. Even in morals it is not enough that 
pupils should follow the tesicher's example. Most 
teachers who possess a copy of Chaucer have the page 
turned down at the description of the "pore persoun 
of a toun" of whom it is said in words for whose 
threadbare appearance I feel inclined to apologize : — 

" But Criates lore, aud Lis apostlea twelve, 
lie tauglit, [Liid ferst he folwed it himselve." 

To follow the good parson is well, but to follow the 
lore is better. With regard to the vexed question of 
example and precept, the higher criticism from the 
teacher's standpoint is summed up in the apparently 
indifferent but really modest statement " Don't do as 
I do ; do as I tell you." It is good to act like Gold- 
smith's parson, who 

" AUur'd to brigliter worlds, and led the way ; " 


but it 18 better to see that the flock go in the way. 
We surely do not want to get to heaven merely to 
keep the parson company. We must put higher ideals 
before our youngsters, and, above all, we must see that 
they apply them. The newer style of teacher keeps 
behind, and acts as a via a tergo to impel the pupils to 
push on for themselves. As soon as they wander from 
the path, the teacher is ready with his crook to pull them 
up sharply, and make them start fair again. By this 
method he hopes that the pupils will acquire the power 
of acting for themselves, making many mistakes no 
doubt, but learning more from their mistakes than from 
the most faultless imitation.^ 

A very general criticism of the schoolmaster's point 
of view is that it sets up the power of reproducing 
knowledge aa the true test of learning. What the 
pupil can reproduce, that the schoolmaster admits he 
has learnt. While this power of mere reproduction i." 
not in itself a sufficient guarantee that real knowledge 
has been acquired, it cannot on the other hand be main- 
tained that what the pupil cannot, in some way or 
other, reproduce is really acquired. The value of for- 
gotten knowledge is not the point at present at issue. 
The question is, can a pupil be said really to know 
what he cannot reproduce so as to apply it to a new 
case ? A pupil may by akQful questioning be made to 
assent, with full comprehension, to all the detailed state- 
ments in a complicated problem in perspective. He 
understands not only each step in the process, but he 

1 This does not raifie the question of teaching from bad examples, 
which opens up a subject with which we tiave at preaeut no concera. 


nnderstanda the bearing of each part on the whole. 
Yet he may be quite tuiahle to attack a new problem 
of the same kind, or even to work aaew from the begin- 
ning the problem already studied. 

In such a case tlie faihire to reproduce a given prob- 
lem is a clear proof that the problem has not been 
really mastered. The teacher here has shown the way, 
but with very poor results. The test of teaching is 
not how the master teaches, but how the pupil learna. 

The true method is to break up each complicated 
problem into a series not of propositions but of little 
problems, not judgments to be made but ends to be 
attained. In each case the important point for the 
teacher to attend to is the relation to be established 
between the ideas already in the mind and the idea 
now to be presented to it. Not ideas in general, but 
ideas arranged in the most suitable way is the teacher's 
aim. This principle is already widely acted upon in 
our newer methods. Formerly the multiplication table 
was the only table learnt in school. Now we have the 
addition table, the subtraction table, tlie division table. 
It is felt to be not enough that the numbers should 
be within the mind, they must be grouped there in the 
best possible form. Seven and nine, for example, are 
to be so intimately connected with 16 that they cannot 
appear together above the threshold without at once 
increasing the presentative activity of the idea of 16 to 
such an extent as at once to raise it to the summit of 
the dome. A well-constructed addition table is an ad- 
mirable diagrammatic representation of a satisfactory 


The conclusion of the whole matter is tlmt we do 
not know whether all souls are equal at birth, and that 
after all it does not matter; for by the time the pupil 
makes his appearance in school, his soul is different 
from the other souls in his class. On the other hand, 
there is a sort of common lowest level of thinking. So 
far as we can reduce thinking to what is described in 
the old-fashioned Formal Logic Books, our minds may 
be regarded as equal,* Whatever goes on in the mind 
seems to be the same in all cases, though the rate of 
speed is very different. We must all pass over the 
pons asinoruTJi, though our pace may be very different. 
The boy who lias gone over the first book of Euclid in 
six weeks has learned quicker, but not necessarily bet- 
ter than or even differently from the boy who takes 
six months to it. Yet there is obviously a difference 
in the two cases. What this difference ia it will be the 
business of the next chapter to discuss. 

a what Jacotol means may be inferred from 
"Tout le monde suit la. logique." 



There is a prevailing impression among teachers, 
and particularly among those who are connected with 
what is sometimes called a liberal education, that it 
really does not matter very much what one learns, 
The culture comes all the same. It is not the what; 
it is the how. The base utilitarian may study Euclid 
in order that by and by he may he ahle to estimate 
the cubical content of dung heaps ;^ the embryo man 
of culture studies Geometry in order to train his mind. 
The Classics have, no doubt, some commercial and 
social value ; but they are said to owe their command- 
ing place in our educational system to their power as 
a mental discipline. The graduate may forget his 
Latin and his Greek, it is said, but he can never lose 
the culture they have left in his mind. 

In the present war of competing subjects, the main 
point of discussion is : Which gives the best result in 
culture,- — which is best fitted to cultivate the mind? 
Classics, Science, Mathematics — each claims pre-emi- 
nence. It is left for the Herbartian to sweep aside 
all claims alike, and raise the preliminary question : 
Do any of them train the mind at all ; can the mind 
be trained? 

' Inspectors of achoola in Scotland tell me that this is a vaiy popu- 
lar application of Mathematics in mral Continuation CLasaes. 


The question reaolvea itself into the problem of the 
possibility of what is called formal education ; that is, 
the possibility of training a mind irrespective of the 
materials upon which it is exercised. This meaning 
must be clearly marked off from that attached to formal 
education by Professor Donaldson in his The Growth of 
the Brain. There it is used to signify systematic or 
scholastic education as opposed to the never-ceasing 
education of experience, and as such is rather lightly 
spoken of as a force modifying brain development : — 

" It appears probable that the education of the schools 
ia but one, and that, too, rather an insignificant one, of 
many surrounding conditions influencing growth." ^ 

Accepting for the moment the popular view that the 
mind can be trained by any subject whatever, with the 
limitation that certain subjects are better for training 
purposes tlian others, let us see how the thing works 
out. Take three men, one trained as exclusively as 
is possible on the Classics, another on Science (say 
Biology), and the third on Mathematics. To test the 
effect of the training, a problem is set to all three, — 
the same problem. Let it be to decipher a certain 
hieroglyphic inscription. Tliere is a feeling in your 
mind, is there not, that somehow this is not quite fair. 
The mathematician and the biologist would probably 
at once object that this test gave the classic an undue 
advantage, and when it is pointed out that the inscrip- 
tion is in neither Latin nor Greek, the ready reply is 
that it is at least in the line of language, and therefore 
easier for the scholar than for the others. When tho 
'Cfp. cti.,p. 342. 


problem of determiuing the age of a given Btratum of 

rock 18 substituted, it is the classic's turn to object, 
and even the mathematician la not pleased. .It is not 
a question in Biology exactly, but it is more in the 
biologist's line. Tossing about for a perfectly neutral 
test, our eyes fall upon a chess-board, and we set our 
three examinees to discover how, in the minimum num- 
ber of moves, to place the knight upon every square 
of the board. Even here there is dissatisfaction. It 
cornea out that the classic and the biologist cmisider 
this problem to be of a mathematical character. It 
calls into play the same faculties as Mathematics. 

The result of our experiment appears to be that each 
of the subjects in question cultivates not the mind in 
general, but in certain special directions. In other 
words, formal education la not quite so formal as it is 
supposed to be ; it is not quite dissociated from the 
special subject. For when we talk about a mathemati- 
cal mind, we surely do not mean exactly what we say- 
It cannot be seriously maintained that the mind acts 
in one way in Mathematics and in another in Classics. 
If, then, each subject develops a special form of mind, 
as indicated by the terras mathematical mind, philo- 
sophical mind, scientific mind, this special form must 
be connected with the matter, — the content of the 

To illustrate : suppose the problem set to our three 
men is to find a lost will, which of the three would 
have the best chance to succeed ? The question is diffi- 
cult, and not in itself important. We may be wrong 
in our answer ; the important point is upon what prin- 



ciple do we proceed to our concluaion. The mathe- 
matician we have at once dismissed. The idea of a 
mathematician, as mathematician, finding anything that 
is lost is more than improbable ; it is amusing. Some 
may be inclined to back the biologist, from the well- 
known methods of patient study that his science de- 
mands. But on the whole the classic will be the most 
likely to succeed, and that not because he has a better- 
trained mind, but because his studies have brought to 
him greater acquaintance with human nature (part of 
his subject haughtily calls itself Humanity'), and tliere 
is usually a good deal of human nature about the losing 
of a will. 

Thus, if it is of importance to discover the most 
likely searcher, we consider the content of the minds 
submitted ; if it is important to find the will, we send 
for an experienced lawyer. 

It is not maintained that this lawyer has a better- 
trained mind than our three friends, but lie has a big- 
ger and better-arranged lost-will apperception mass. 

If it be true that this formal education is possible, if 
the matter of study is only of consequence as a sort of 
whetstone of the mind, ^ why do not teachers choose 
pleasanter subjects than at present? We can readily 
see the force of an argument that condemns cricket as a 
complete instrument of education. It may be a capital 
hand-and-eye training, but a certain number of " facul- 
ties " are left idle. There must be indoor as well as 
outdoor education. But when the boy comes in from 

' Cf. The Whetstone nf Witte, which turns out to be a book on 
Algebra published by Recorde in 1667. 


cricket, why call him away from his chess, to study Eu- 
clid? This game is said to exercise pretty much the 
same faculties as Mathematics. Many boys like chess 
and hate Mathematics ; why not give them what they 
want ? The usual answer is that chess does not offer 
a wide enough field. The real answer is that, after all, 
chess- training is only training in chess- 
Is it too much to say that the same remark applies to 
other studies? Is it very unusual to find a man bril- 
liant at, say, Mathematics, and a dolt at all else? Is an 
intimate acquaintance with the Classics any guarantee of 
intellectual power in other departments? 

But perhaps the most eiJective argument against 
formal education is to be found in the way in which 
sin, vice, and crime are treated as educational agencies. 
What could call into play more of a boy's faculties 
than orchard-robbing ? Almost all the virtues are 
trained in the exercise of this vice. The necessary 
planning demands prudence, forethought, caution. The 
choosing of the riglit moment implies careful obser- 
vation, judicious estimate of character, and intelligent 
calculation of probabilities. The actual expedition 
demands the greatest courage, firmness, self-control. 
Climbing the tree and seizing the fruit are only possi- 
ble as the result of the most accurate adjustment of 
means to end. All the results aimed at in the most 
liberal intellectual education are here secured ; no 
teacher is required ; and the boy enjoys it. Why 
does not apple-stealing rank with Latin and Mathe- 
matics as a mental gymnastic? 

Why do we hear so little of education in crime ? 



We have myriads of tracts on education and crime, in 
which the former is generally treated as a more or less 
effective antidote to the latter, yet I do not chance to 
know any treatise on the technical training of thieves 
and cut -throats. 

It ia true that one turns with a flicker of hope to 
ancient Spartan education. Who has not at Sunday- 
school or church been called upon to admire the heroism 
of the Lacedfemonian boy who allowed the fox con- 
cealed below his cloak, to eat out his entrails, rather 
than complain? Who has not as a youngster wondered 
whi/ this heroic boy let the fox injure him? And who 
has not been shocked when in maturer life he found that 
the boy let the fox feed upon him rather than confess 
that he had atolen it ? The moral seems to vanish from 
the pretty tale, till a new one is supplied when we read 
some such sentence as this : " The formal education of 
Spartan boys consisted mainly of Gymnastics, Music, 
Choric Dancing, and Larceny."' 

At first sight this seems to drive the moral farther 
off than evBF ; but by and by we remember that it was 
held honourable among the Spartan folk for a boy to 
steal without being detected, while to steal and be 
found out was regarded as the lowest depth of degrada- 
tion. The noble Spartan boy in the tale preferred his 
honour to his entrails. 

Here we seem to have a distinct recognition of the 

value of crime as an educational organon. Thieving 

ranked with Music and Gymnastics as an essential part 

of a liberal education. The training power of crime 

' Great EduaUora, "Aristotle," p. i7. 


appears to be fully recognized. It is not till we have 
looked into the matter closely that we find the Spartans 
unworthy of the praise we had prepared for their broad- 
minded views on the subjects of the educational curricu- 
lum. Larceny was taught, not as a branch of culture ; 
it was studied as a base utilitarian craft for practical 
application. It was a mere case of setting a thief to 
catch a thief. The Helota caused continual uneasiness 
at Sparta ; they had to be kept under in some way, 
and as they were tricky and cunning, the young Spar- 
tans had to be trained in thieving in order that the 
cunning of tiie slaves should be met by the cunning of 
tlie masters. Archbishop Potter says simply : " Steal- 
ing was encouraged to make them adroit " ; ' but 
Dr. Davidson discredits this culture explanation by 
Ms statement : ** The purpose of this curious discipline 
was to enable its subjects to act, on occasion, aa detec- 
tives and assassins among the ever-discontented and 
rebellious Helots."^ Even on this view there seems to 
be a certain element of general training introduced. 
At first sight thieving seems, with Spartan practice, to 
be generalized into murdering. But further examina- 
tion shows that thieving only taught something which 
was common to thieving and murdering. The boys 
were trained to steal not in order that they might be 
able to steal, but in order to be able to sneak and mur- 
der. In order to steal one must sneak ; in order to 
murder one must sneak. Therefore the boy who can 
steal has learned at least part of the art of murder. 


Tliieving has consequently, after all, an exceedingly 
limited field in education- 
Yet if formal education is possible, then instruction 
in crime ought to be educationally aa important and 
profitable as iuatruction in Science and Classics. Indeed 
crime has a very special advantage as an educational 
organon, since it is entirely free from professional 
prejudices. So much has been written of late on " edu- 
cational values," that no one can treat of Classics or 
Science or Mathematics, or Modern Languages, or 
History, without being at once thrust into a class, and 
regarded as a partisan. 

From this taint, at least, crime is quite free. Fagin's 
school, as an intellectual training-ground, is virgin soil 
for the educationist, who can there test theories with- 
out fear of his results being complicated by the accu- 
mulated prejudices of scores of predecessors. It is, no 
doubt, humiliating to have to turn to a mere novel 
instead of to a large, closely printed, and respect- 
ably dull treatise. But education in crime is as yet 
only in the natural-history stage of development. 
Dickens merely describes, he does not explain. To a 
later stage belong the theories — and the dulness. 

If you examine your mind at this moment, you will 
probably find it in a state of somewhat indignant con- 
fusion. Two ideas have been called into the field of 
consciousness at the same time, two ideas that have 
always regarded themselves as natural enemies to each 
other ; and those two ideas have been asked to join in 
the friendly relation of cause and effect. As two boys 
caught by the master in the very throes of war, and 



ordered by him to ahake hands, hang back scowling at 
each other, not otherwise stand in your minds at this 
moment the two ideas of Crime and Education. 

A little analysis of your thoughts will probably show 
you that the underlying belief that caused this disturb- 
ance is really that crime needs no teaching. There is 
a prevailing opinion that crime is easily attained ; that 
anybody can be a criminal. If some speakers and 
writers are to be believed, the difficulty is all the other 
way, and the great trouble of an ordinary man's life 
is to keep from becoming a criminal. Now while it is 
quite easy for any of us to stumble clumsily into crime, 
it does not at all follow that we have any claim to rank 
among criminals — real criminals, professional crimi- 
nals. We all occasionally hluuder into a syllogism, but 
we are not on that account arrogant enough to call our- 
selves logicians. To be a successful criminal requires 
as careful training as to be a successful judge, and i£ 
we wish to investigate the educational value of crime, 
wa must study it under the most favourable circum- 
stances, in one of the best schools. 

We cannot more fitly introduce Fagin's school than 
by a report supposed to be written by an emancipated 
inspector of schools who has enlightened views on the 
relation between education and crime. Such a man, re- 
garding skilful crime as the immediate object of the 
school, with mental trainmg as a secondary and inevita- 
ble result, might well produce some such report as the 
following : — 

" I have again to call attention to the unsuitability 
of the school-premises. Only a low view of crime can 


be formed in a cellar. If this matter is not attended 
to, it will be necessary next year to recommend a sub- 
stantial reduction under Art. Onety-oue. Tbe organ- 
ization and discipline are, on tbe wbole, excellent, and 
tbe higber grant is recommended, tbougb tbe teacbers 
sbould be mformed tbat toasting-forks and frying-pans 
are not suitable instruments for maiutaining order. 
Tbe tone of tbe sebool is excellent, and reflects great 
credit on the head-master, Mr. Fagin, whose enthusi- 
asm cannot fail to have an excellent effect in stimulat- 
ing his pupils. The general ehamcter of the instruction 
in the ordinary subjects is creditable. The text-books 
used, however, are of a low order and are now out of 
date ; they must be clianged if the higber grant is to be 
recommended next year. There is a lack, too, of suitable 
occupation for the new pupils while the old ones are at 
their usual work. This must be at once attended to. 
The physical exercises were gone through with pre- 
cision and heartiness. Object lessons are well attended 
to ; one of the senior pupil-teachers, William Sikes, 
deserving special praise for bis effective lesson on the 
loading of a pistol, and the connection between a loaded 
pistol and holding one's tongue." 

Have you imagination enough to picture Mr. Fagin 
sitting by his fire-side, a saveloy in one band and this 
report in the other, reading with the palpitating interest 
tliat the works of school inspectors and superintendents 
always command ? 

" Premises,'" he mutters, " same old story. Good 
thing that isn't my lay. Excellent — Ha ! — on the 
whole — as usual. Forke and frying-pans — what eyes 


those inspectors have got ! Must keep them out of 

sight next time he comes round. Q-reat credit — come, 
that's something like — - enthusiasm — stimulating. Now 
that's what I call — hillo 1 What's this about text- 
books? I didn't make the text-books : that's the pub- 
lisher's look-out. They're the easiest I can find." 

Here we may be permitted to interrupt Fagin, first 
of all to quote from Dickens the passage referring to 
the text-books, and then to show that, as is not seldom 
the case, the teacher and not the publisher was to 
blame for whatever was wrong, 

Oliver is described as turning over the leaves of a 
book that has been left to enliven his solitude on the 
eve of a crime into which he is to be dragged. " He 
turned over the leaves, carelessly at first ; but lighting 
on a passage which attracted his attention, he booh 
became intent upon the voliune. It was a history of 
the lives and trials of great criminals ; and the pages 
were soiled and thumbed with use. Here he read of 
dreadful crimes that made the blood run cold ; of secret 
murders that had been committed by the lonely way- 
side ; of bodies hidden from the eye of man in deep pits 
and wells, which would not keep them down, deep as 
they were, but had yielded them up at last, after many 
years, and so maddened the murderers with the sight, 
that in their horror they had confessed their guilt, and 
yelled for the gibbet to end their agony. Here, too, 
he read of men who, lying in their beds at dead of 
night, had been tempted (so they said) and led on, by 
their own bad thoughts, to such dreadful bloodshed as 
it made the flesh creep and the limbs quail to think of. 


The terrible descriptions were so real and vivid that the 
sallow pages seemed to turn red with gore, and the words 
upon them to be sounded in his ears, as if they were 
whispered in hollow murmurs by the spiritsof the dead. " ' 

This ia obviously not the sort of literature to en- 
courage enterprise in crime. Had Fagin been able to 
spare time from his other professional work to edit this 
manual, you may be sure the blue pencil would have 
been unflinchingly used. Those totally uncalled-for 
confessions would cease to mar the charm of the nar- 
rative ; the gibbet would be carefully excised ; those 
pits and wells would have been seeu to, and made 
decently corpse-tight. We are sure of this, for Fagin 
is clearly better tlian his books. Listen to his own 
method of story-telling : — 

" At other times the old man would tell them stories 
of robberies he had committed in his younger days ; 
mixed up with so much that was droll and curious that 
Oliver could not help laughing heartily, and showing 
that he was amused in spite of all his better feelings."^ 

There speaks the true teacher. There is a good 
chance of a boy coming to something in crime with 
lessons like that. Yet Fagin is not the only genuine 
teacher in the school. The object lesson commended 
by the inspector is well worth reproducing in full. 
Not every lesson given by certificated teachers in this 
country has the point and finish of Mr. Sikea' effort. 
Addressing the trembling Oliver, who is to be forced 
to accompany the burglar on professional business, Bill 
begins : — 

' Oliver Twist, Chap. XX. "Ibid., Chap. XVIII. 



"'Come here, young un; and let me read you a 
lector', which is as well got over at once.' " 

But Bill ia better than his word. Most teachers 
begin by telling the class that they are going to give a 
lesson, and then proceed to give a lecture. Bill does 
precisely the opposite: his lecture at once develops into 
a genuine object lesson: — 

" Thus addressing his new pupil, Mr. Sikes pulled 
off Oliver's cap and threw it into a corner; and then, 
taking him by the shoulder, sat himself down by the 
table, and stood the boy in front of him, 

" ' Now, first : do you know wot this is ? ' inquired 
Sikes, taking up a pocket pistol which lay on the table. 

" Oliver replied in the affirmative. 

" ' Well then, look here,' continued Sikes. ' This is 
powder; that 'ere's a bullet; and this is a little bit of 
a old hat for waddin',' 

"Oliver murmured his comprehension of the different 
bodies referred to; and Mr. Sikes proceeded to load 
the pistol, with great nicety and deliberation. 

" ' Now it's loaded,' said Mr. Sikes, when he had 

" ' Yes, I see it is, sir,' replied Oliver. 

" ' Well,' said the robber, grasping Oliver's wrist 
tightly, and putting the barrel so close to his temple 
that they touched ; at which moment the boy could not 
repress a start; ' if you speak a word when you're out 
o' doors with me, except when I speak to you, that 
loading will be in your head without notice. So, if you 
do make up your mind to speak without leave, say your 
prayers first.' 


" Having bestowed a scowl upon the object of this 
warning, to increase its effect, Mr. Sikea continued. 

" ' Ah near as I know, there isn't anybody as would 
be asking very partickler arter you, if you was dis- 
posed of ; so I needn't take this devil-and-all of trouble 
to explain matters to you, if it wam't for your own 
good. D'ye hear me ? '" i 

Matter apart, this lesson would probably knock an 
excellent out of any inspector. 

So far we have found no important difference between 
Fagin's method and those recommended in the ordinary 
school-management books meant for less interesting if 
more legitimate teachers. Indeed, the more carefully 
we examine Fagin's proceedings, the more orthodox do 
his methods appear. He relies upon the same motives 
of emulation with whidi we are familiar. 

'"Ah ! She's a clever girl, my dears,' said the Jew, 
turning round to his young friends, and shaking his 
head gravely, as if in mute admonition to them to fol- 
low the bright example they had just beheld." 

And pupil-teacher Sikes loyally chimes in, as is fitting, 

" ' She's a honour to her sex,' said Mr. Sikes filling 
his glass, and smiting the table with his enormous fist. 
' Here's her health, and wishing they was all like her.' " ^ 

Precept is joined to example in the game of picking 
pockets in which Oliver at first joined, and even when 
the new pupil's dislike of and unfitness for, this trick 
became plain, the wily master was not discouraged. 
He knew the value of mere mechanical imitation, as 
well as the most experienced among us. 

' Oliver Twit:, Chap. XX, ' Hid., Chap. XIII. 


" From this day, Oliver was seldom left alone ; but 
waa placed in almost constant comnmnication with the 
two boys, who played at the old game with the Jew 
every day : whether for their improvement or Oliver's, 
Mr. Fagin best knew"^ 

In short, Mr. Fagin acts precisely as a better -trained 
and more skilful McChoakumchild ^ might. The only 
difference is that McChoakumchild teaches virtue, Fa- 
gin vice. This being so, what are the intellectual results 
in the two cases ? Apart from the matter studied, 
whose pupQ shows to more advantage, McChoakum- 
child 'b or Fagin's ? 

Oliver Twist and John Dawkins, otherwise known as 
the Artful Dodger, are expressly stated to be of the 
same age. Oliver had been brought up on virtue — 
that is, in the workhouse. Dawkins had been reared 
on vice. Which had the better-trained mind ? Dick- 
ens certainly did not intend his readers to regard 
Oliver as a fool — Oliver is supposed to be the hero of 
the story. Why, then, does the reader close the book 
with the more or less contemptuous belief that Oliver 
is a noodle, — a good little boy who by all the rules of 
the game ought to have died under Giles' blunderbuss ? 
Dickens means us to think of his hero as a pale-faced, 
intelligent, indeed spirituel boy, and only fails because 
the Artful Dodger completely outshines his virtuous 
rival in the favour of the reader. No doubt it is hardly 
fair to compare a workhouse pupil with the brightest 
ornament of Fagin's Academy. But take a wider 
range, and the result is the same. It is a matter of the 
' Oliver Turist, Chap. XVIII. ' Vide Dickens, Hard Timet. 



most trite remark that the street Arab, brought up 
among vice and squalor, is intellectually much brighter 
than his better-fed, and supposed-to-be better-taught 
rival of respectable parentage. Such a widespread 
impression must have some sort of foundation, and it is 
obviously of the first importance to us as teachers to 
find out how much truth there is underlying it. For 
if the popular notion implies exactly what appears on 
the surface, our profession has to face a very grave 
charge. If the gutter produces better intellectual re- 
sults than the primary school, then shall the discon- 
tented ratepayer have a genuine grievance at last. 

To begin with, the method of tlie gutter has the 
great advantage of the compiilsion of necessity. What 
can the most zealous compulsory officer do, what can 
the moat supple cane accomplish, in comparison with 
the persuasive voice of the Mother of Invention? We 
in school teach our pupils certain things in order that 
" by and by " they may know how to do certain other 
things. Fagin and hia pupils seek to attain an obvious 
and immediate end. It may reasonably be interposed 
here ; if Fagin'a method of direct teaching produces 
better residta than our indirect methods, why not fol- 
low his lead ? It must be admitted that there is some- 
thing in the complaint. In some respects our school 
methods are too indirect. Sufficient care is not taken 
to let a child see the " sense " of what he is learning. 
We are too fond of telling him to wait till he is big, 
and then he will understand all that. But while so 
much is admitted, it must be remarked that direct 
teaching is not always desirable outside of the gutter — 


nor indeed always possible. In the third place and 
chiefly, it is at least very questionable whether Fagin's 
methods do produce better results. 

In the first place, the comparison between the street 
urchin and the primary -school boy is unfair, because 
of the greater struggle for existence among the street 
urchins. A certain principle, known as the Survival of 
the fittest, has much more scope in the gutter than in a 
primary school. In Fagin's Academy the physically 
weak go i-apidly to the wall, the intellectually weak to 
the lock-iip. What a waste of gutter children goes to 
the making of one Artful Dodger ! Hunger and cold, 
whiskey and prison, do their work; a few brilliant ex- 
ceptions are left, and the ordinary schoolboy is com- 
pared with a Charley Bates, or an Artful Dodger. 

But from our present point of view, the most impor- 
tant consideration remains. What is made the test of 
intelligence in the two cases? A little exercise of the 
memory will make it clear that almost in every case 
where the street Arab has shown great intelligence it 
has been a matter of what is called " the main chance," 
looking after number one. This remark must not be 
misconstrued. There is no attempt here to deny the 
good qualities of the Arab. We have all heard won- 
derful tales of the kindness of the poor to the poor, 
which we are but too glad to believe. Only, it is well to 
note that even in his generosity the Arab is concerned 
with the main chance — his skill is still in how he can 
make ends meet. His intellect is tested by his power 
to keep himself and others alive. 

This is, indeed, generally admitted, but the natural 


inference is not drawn. Instead of telling in favour of 
the primary-school boy, it is usually turned against him 
in some such sneer as this ; " Your schoolboy is all 
very well with his vulgar fractions, and his parsing — 
throw him into the street aad see how he and his edu- 
cation will compete with the illiterate gamins." As 
well might one argue " Your monkey is all very well 
vrith his cerebral convolutions and all that ; but throw 
him from the top of the Eiffel Tower, and see how he 
wdll compete with the swallow that you say is intel- 
lectually so much his inferior." 

The apperception masses in the schoolboy's mind 
are quite different from those in the gamin's, and if we 
always make our comparisons in terms of gamin masses, 
naturally the schoolboy will always appear at a disad- 
vantage. It is a difference not of mental power, but of 
mental content. 

The same sort of comparison is being made every 
day between townspeople and country-people. Phi- 
lology is eloquent with abuse of the countrjanan, the 
rustic, the clown, the lout, the boor, the yokel, the clod- 
hopper. Naturally those fancy pictures are drawn by 
townspeople, who take care that the picture gets in 
every case a city background. A countryman implores 
a policeman to pilot him across the Strand ; does this 
prove that the policeman can judge better of speeds 
and distances than the countryman? Change the 
scene to the country, and the roles are exactly re- 
versed. The policeman makes the wildest guesses at 
distances, and can form no estimate of the speed of 
hares and crows. 


We can all judge, we can all reason, not so much ac- 
cording to our " natural powers," as they are called, as 
according to our familiarity with the aubject under dis- 
cussion. We should not say that So-and-so is a very 
clever fellow, but that he is very clever in this or that 
direction. A man may be a distinguished microscopist 
who can observe to the most uncomfortably small part 
of a millimetre, and yet be quite unaware that his stu- 
dents are copying under his very nose at examination ; 
and are we not inclined to doubt the philosophic powers 
of any thinker who has enough society observation to 
recognize his friends in the street? 

De Morgan's ideal of education — "to know every- 
thing about something, and something about every- 
thing" — represents approximately every man's actual 
State of knowledge. We may not quite know every- 
thing about something in the sense of the German phi- 
losophers, but we all know practically aU that is worth 
knowing about something — if it be only the best way 
of filling a pii>e, or twisting a curl paper ; and the far- 
ther afield we go from our favourite piece of knowledge, 
the more uncomfortable do we feel, and the slower does 
the mind act. 

For each individual, the contents of the universe fall 
into a Cosmos special to himself, and in the centre of 
which he stands. The matters in which he is most in- 
terested crowd close up to the centre, and among those 
his mind acts freely and rapidly. The farther any 
matter is from the centre, the less freely does his mind 
work in it, till at last, at the outer edge of this Cosmos, 
the mind reaches an endless fringe of what is practically 


unknown. The range of a man's intellectual activity 
may be not inaptly represented diagram matically by 
one of those ancient charts of the world, in which the 
Mediterranean ia marked very boldly, if not too accu- 
rately, in the centre, and the rest of the world is repre- 
sented in ever vaguer and more hesitating outline as it 
recedes from the known centre till it loses itself in a 
vague beyond pictured by clouds, and labelled " Cim- 
merian darkness." 

An accomplished oculist talks easily, and with a not 
unpleasant touch of dogmatism, about the eye — the 
eye is his Mediterranean. Of the ear he talks still 
easily, if a little contemptuously, but the touch of 
dogmatism has gone. Of the heart he talks with a 
familiarity tempered with respect. With ever-waning 
confidence and waxing reapeet, he speaks of general 
physiological problems, wide biological questions, Greek, 
the steam engine, bimetallism, and a vast eteetera of 
the almost totally unknown. 

In short, the soul is not a mere knife that may be 
sharpened on any whetstone, and when sharpened may 
be applied to any purpose, — to cut cheese or to excise 
a cancer. The knife takes character from the whet- 
stone. The Chancellor of the Exchequer preparing his 
Budget has not a better-trained mind than the illit- 
erate washerwoman with her hand in the stocking foot 
near rent day — he only deals with higher things. No 
doubt the Chancellor would feel as helpless in the art 
of stocking-foot economy as the old woman would if 
called upon to deal with imperial finance. 

Think of Laplace, the great Laplace, the man who 


made the theory, dismissed by Napoleon for incapacity, 
and say whether the greatest mind may be truly called 
great, when tested apart from the apperception masses 
with which it is familiar. Had Laplace's mind been 
the highly trained instrument formal educationists 
would have us believe, he ought to have been as good 
a minister as mathematician. 

One of the leading ideas in Carlyle's book " On 
Heroes " is that the great man ia intrinsically great ; 
that a great poet might have been equally well a great 
warrior or a great mathematician. Observe, the state- 
ment is " might have been." That a great poet at ma- 
turity may become a great warrior or mathematician, 
the Herbartian would emphatically deny. Had Napo- 
leon caught Laplace young, and given him political work 
to do, there seems no reason to doubt that the dismissal 
would not have occurred — ■ the man who is now known 
as the great mathematician and physicist would have 
been known as a great minister and diplomat. But 
if, in the circumstances that actually arose, Napoleon 
had been more patient, and had given the great mathe- 
matician a longer trial than the few weeks that history 
records, it ia quite probable that Laplace would have 
made a good average second-rate minister. 

A combination of the Carlylean doctrine of the con- 
vertibility of genius, and the Herbartian doctrine of 
mind or sou! building, makes the best philosophical 
blend for the use of the practical teacher. With the 
whole range of Philosophy before him where to choose, 
the teacher, who is anxious to magnify his office, will 
not stir a foot farther afield. 


We have seen that, whether interest or will be the 
determining influence, our daily experience in school 
drives us to the conclusion that by the time pupils 
come to school their minds have all the appearance of 
differing in original quality ; but it does not at all 
follow that by appropriate training and exercise we can 
raise a lower quality of mind to a higher. All that we 
can do is to make the best of the given mind — and 
this is very much. The difference between the best 
and the worst use of the same mind is enormous. 
(iiveii the same first-class mind, we may tui'u out an 
Artful Dodger or a James Watt ; given the same 
third-rate mind, and we may develop it into a Bill 
Sikes or a more than respectable artisan. 

Do not for a moment let it be supposed that a Her- 
Imrtian regards an &rtisati as necessarily of the third 
class. Certain haughty philosophers are pieced now 
and then to be greatly surprised at the intelligenee 
occasionally displayed by "common people." The 
Herbartian is not astonished either by the occasional 
brilliancy _pr the average gloom. Speaking generally, 
the artisan is not in a very favourable position for in- 
creasing his apperception masses ; therefore be is seldom 
strikingly different from his fellows. On the other 
hand, his intellect may. if circumstances favour, turn 
out as good work as comes from any other social 

Why, [or example, are pupil-t«acher candidates for 
Admission to tlie British training colleges supposed to 
be inferior in intelligence to the students of the same 
age at the universities? The answer is not far to seek 


For three or fonr years of their best formative time the 
pupil-teachers have to work in a groove vrhere their 
apperception masses have no chance of growing in 
width, though they certainly do grow in strength. 
Teaching all day, and parsing and analyzing all night, 
they develop abnormally large apperception masses in 
certain directions, with the result that the ideas form- 
ing part of those masses enter into so powerful coalitions 
among themselves, that they offer an almost insuperable 
barrier to the enti'ance of any new ideas. The differ- 
ence between the mistress and the maid, between the 
master and the workman, and between the country 
blacksmith and the city one, can all be explained in 
pretty much the same way. One of the two ia limited 
to monotonous work, to the eternal repetition of the 
same thoughts or reflex actions. No new apperception 
masses can be formed, or, at any rate, fewer such masses 
can appear in the one case than in the other ; hence the 
apparent difference in intelligence. It is, after all, not 
a matter of minds, but of masses. 

It is clear, then, that we cannot separate the mind 
from its content. There is no such thing as pure mind 
in the actual practice of life, whatever there may be in 
the ultimate analysis of Metaphysics. Above all, it is 
certain that we cannot exercise the mind in vacuo. Yet 
the mind is admitted to work in the same way, what- 
ever the material upon which it acta. The mere ex- 
istence of the science of Formal Logic is sufficient proof 
that the laws of thought may be considered quite apart 
from the subject upon which thought may be exercised. 
It is generally admitted tbat the man who thinks rapidly 



and effectively upon a given subject obeys exactly the 
same logical laws as the slow and feeble thinker. How, 
then, can the well-known fact be explained that a course 
of study does quicken the thinking powers ? 

Herbert Spencer baa a pregnant idea, " fact organized 
into faculty," • which may iielp us to answer. A fact, 
90 long us it remains outside the experience of an indi- 
vidual, is absolutely non-existent for that individual. 
But even when it is brought into his experience, it may 
be quite unintelligible to him, may be incapable of any 
practical application. It is only when the fact has been 
apperceived by the soul, and has had its place among 
the ideas fixed, that it becomes a power in that soul. A 
fact thus treated ceases to be a dead, inert thing ; it 
acquires a force of its own, and in its turn acts upon 
new facta presented to the soul. It changes its posi- 
tion from that of a mere bit of the external material 
upon which the soul acts, to that of an integral part of 
the soul which acts upon presented material. It passes 
from the objective to the subjective, from the non-ego 
to the ego. 

To this extent Spencer himself may be cited as a sup- 
porter of the doctrine of apperception. 

Most people think they can separate themselves from 
their knowledge ; that they can put the knowing soul 
on one side, and the known content on the other. As 
a matter of fact, we know any one part of what we know 
only by the help of another part. As soon as we have 
separated all we know from the knowing ego, the ego 

1 " Knowledge m turned into faculty aa soon as it is taken ill, and 
forthwith aids in tlie general f^n(^tlun uf Ibinkiug."^ Kilucatlun, p. UO. 


itself digappears. Cogito ergo »um ia the ultimate of 
mental analysis, but we cannot cogitate upon nothing. 
Since, then, we cannot have the knowing ego by itself, 
and since each new fact is acted upon by the facts which 
then form part of the apperceiving soul, it follows that 
the more facts that have been organized into faculty, 
the more readily will the mind act, and the greater will 
be the range of facta upon which it will act easily. 

There are here two different quahties, — -readiness 
and range. The former is acquired by practice in 
apperceiving the same or closely allied facts ; the latter 
by apperceiving a large number of facts of different 
character. A chemist acquires from his work great 
readiness in using the metric system, but this readiness 
does not extend far into other and different matters. 
If the chemist desires a wide range of mental suscepti- 
bility, he must read and observe widely. 

Within certain narrow limits, it must in fairness 
be admitted, any mental exercise whatever does de- 
velop the whole soul," Take the analogy of the body; 
a certain amount of exercise of any kind will maintain 
it in health. Yet even here if special kinds of skill are 
required, special forms of training must 1)6 adopted. 
Since the body is an organism, we cannot exeriuse any 
one part of it without affecting every other part at 
least in some degree. The lop-sided blacksmith whose 
right arm is more fully developed than his left has still 
trained the whole body to some extent through his work. 

' But cf. some very remarkable staMments on the teaching of read- 
ing quoted from Mr. Moseley by Sir JotiD Lubbock ; Addressts (Mac- 
mUlan & Cu.). P- T2. 


As it is manifestly unwise to develop a boy's Qiuacles 
in this abnormal way, so with the soul it would be a 
mistake to develop it entirely by reaction upon matters 
belonging only to the technique of a profession. Cer- 
tain subjects must be studied as correctives. The 
school curriculum must be thorough enough to produce 
readiness in all the subjects studied; and at the same 
time wide enough to produce a fairly uniform all-round 

All that is usually included under the term training 
as opposed to teaching, seems to be in favour of the 
argument for formal education. A boy who is punct- 
ual, respectful, and obedient at school, it is said, will 
not lose those good qualities when he goes to an office. 
Obedience may be learnt at school, at home, in prison, 
ill the street, in the workshop, in the army. Here, at 
least, the material upon which the soul acta appears to 
be in itself of no consequence. Yet even habits bear 
the trace of their origin. A man may be an accurate 
sorcerer, and yet a very inaccurate arithmetician. A 
nimble-witted demonologist may be a slow-thinking 
botanist. la it ao very unusual to find a boy obedient 
at school and unruly at liome, respectful in the ofBce 
and impertinent in the street ? To come to a later, 
and therefore more telling stage, is a soldier's obedi- 
ence quit« the same thing as an artisan's or a con- 
vict's ? Do we not all become subdued to that we 
work in ? 

The question therefore inevitably emerges, which sort 
of subjects ought we to adopt, in other words, which 
are the preferable apperception masses ? Herbert 



Spenoer has a theory with regard to the relative value 
of school subjects which he has evolved out of his sup- 
poBitiocs with regard to the principles on which the 
universe ia managed. First he recognizes the two 
functions of a school subject, ^ — the value of the 
matter studied, and the value of the training de- 
rived from the study. Economy is one of Nature's 
first laws, he maintains, and therefore she could not 
permit the intolerable waste that must be involved in 
the theory that we have to learn one set of things for 
their own sake, and another for tlie sake of the train- 
ing derived from their study. We are therefore com- 
pelled, he argues, to regard whichever subjects are 
most useful in giving necessary knowledge as also the 
best fitted for training the mind. 

Without at all subscribing to Spencer's principles, 
we are led to something very like his cunelusiona. It 
is no part of our purpose to determine which subjects 
shall be taught in school, or out of it. It is enougli it 
it has been shown that the choice of subjects is impor- 
tant ; that a subject must be chosen for its own sake, not 
for the sake of its general efl'ect in training the mind. 
This is no base utilitarian conclusion, no truckling to 
what the Germans call the Brad Wissenschaften., the 
Bread-and-butter Sciences. The rather are we en- 
couraged, nay required, by our principles, to read more 
widely than before. Only, we are to read and study 
for the sake of the subject itself. So far from oppos- 
ing culture, the Herbartian theory is the strongest 
supporter of the fine arts and belles-lettres. The 
increase in intension and extension of interest is the 



gauge of the development of a soul. We must lose 
ourselves in our subjects, not seek to keep them outside 
of us. 

Art for Art's gake acquires a new and a healthier 
meaning from the Herbartian standpoint. 

Teachers used to have, and ignorant people still have, 
a pretty theory that we ought to learn pieces of poetry in 
order to cultivate the memory. This venerable, this ludi- 
crous fallacy has been long exploded, yet our teachers 
continue to make their pupils learn poetry, and codes 
and programmes wisely require a certain amount of 
repetition every year from each child who studies 
English. There is this important difference. The 
point of view is entirely changed. Pupils learn poetrj- 
now not for the sake of the memory, but for the sake 
of the poetry. Would it not be well If the same 
change of the point of view took place with regard to 
certain other subjects which need not at this moment 
be specified ? It is something that the principle has 
Ijeen recognized and acted upon, even in the elementary 
school, Herbartianism is, after all, not entirely in the 

Coming back for a moment to our illustration, how 
does our conclusion apply? Crime as an educational 
organon is condemned, not because it fails to develop 
intelligence, but because it develops it in a wrong 
direction. We cancel Fagin's certificate not because 
he is a bad teaclier, but because be teaches bad things. 


It is difficult to believe that Bishop Berkeley wrote 
for an EngUsli-speakiiig audience. To the plain man 
subjective idealism is aamething that should have come 
from Germany, or rather that should have stayed there. 
To the ordinary consciousness there is the mind within, 
and the great world of facts outside. The mind and 
the world are, in the very nature of things, opposed to 
each other, and what God has separated let not man 
make one. 

Yet the two must be brought into relation to each 
other : the teacher's work is regarded as the shovelling 
in of as many of those outside facts as the mind can 
contain. The great shovel for this purpose is known 
as Observation, a word dear to the hearts of " Teachers, 
Inspectors, School Superintendents, School Boards, Par- 
ents, and Others interested." 

The lack of observation is coming to be regarded as 
the great evil of modern education. We are continu- 
ally being told that we do not observe enough, and 
Cfertainly, when put to the usual tests, we do not make 
a very distinguished appearance. If every Englishman 
were asked to state, under pain of immediate death in 
case of error, the exact number of steps in the stair 
leading up to his bedroom, there would be a slaughter 



throughout the world unequalled since the days of 
Noah. And if the mortality would be slightly dimin- 
ished by giving the unfortunate victims the choice of 
stating which arm they first tlirust into the sleeve when 
putting on coat or jacket, it would not be because of 
greater observation, but from the fact that, there being 
but two possibilities in this case, the chances of life 
and death would be equal. 

A whole class of students of Psychology has been 
reduced to the most shamefaced confusion, when sud- 
denly asked to write down, without time for investi- 
gation, the answer to the question : " How many 
buttons have you on your waistcoat?" This state 
of matters is greatly to be deplored, and a certain 
section of practical educationists give us many oppor- 
tunities to grieve over it. When a class in school has 
been floored by some such simple question as : " Witti 
which foot do you usually begin to walk ? " or " At 
which end does a recumbent cow begin to rise ? " those 
practical educationists turn to the teacher, and, with 
a deprecatory smile, ask if it would not be better to 
pay a little more attention to the " observing faculties " 
of the pupils. 

Being a wise man, the teacher smiles in return, and 
holds his peace ; but this does not prevent him from 
afterwards explaining to the pupil-teacher wlio saw the 
experiment and heard the criticism, that it is no great 
disadvantage to the children that they do not know 
which end of a cow gets up first, while it is positively 
to their advantage that they do not know with which 
foot they start to walk. To the ordinary child or man 


it is of no importance how the cow distributea the 
labour of getting up, while the introduction of con- 
scious knowledge into the act of walking really inter- 
feres with that act. 

If any one question this, let hiiu start to reflect upon 
what he is doing as he rapidly runs do'wnstairs. So 
long as he does not think about the matter, all goes 
well ; but as soon as the attention is directed to the 
motion, everything gets into confusion, and the experi- 
menter is lucky if he escape without a tumble. Even 
the pupil-teacher should know that the upper brain, as 
soon as it has become perfectly familiar with the regu- 
lation of a certain act, hands it over to the lower brain, 
where it is attended to in future, being allowed access 
to the upper region, the region of consciousness, only 
under very exceptional circumstances. The greater 
the number of acts that have thus been thrust out of 
consciousness so as to become reflex acts, the greater 
the development of the soul in que.stion. The greater 
the painter, the less able he is to de.scribe the mechani- 
cal methods by which his results are produced. If a 
man has to consider with which foot he shall start to 
walk, his attention is by that very fact taken away 
from other and more important work. 

Little opposition need be feared to what has been 
said against observing how we perform reflex acts, but 
with regard to the other set of facts, tlie uprising-cow 
sort of fact, there exists a very widespread fallacy. 
Common sense and school -management books liere form 
an unwonted alliance in favour of more attention to the 
training of what is called observation. It is admitted 


that the number of steps, the nmnber of buttons, and 
the end of 'the cow are not in theraselvea of very much 
importance. The but that naturally follows this con- 
cession may introduce, according to the bent of the 
speaker, either or both of two different lines of argu- 
ment. It may be maintained that while the mere facts 
in question ai-e insignificant, the habit of observation 
acquired in noting them is valuable ; or it may be 
argued that though the facts are at present of no con- 
sequence, one never knows at what moment they may 
become of vital importance. 

Dealing with the former, the training theoiy, first, 
it must be acknowledged that it is possible to train 
the mind to note unimportant and unconnected facts. 
You are familiar with the account of how Robert 
Houdin trained himself and his son by walking rapidly 
past some shop on the Boulevards, and then comparing 
notes as to the number of objects each had been able to 
fix on his mind in the momentary glimpse at the win- 
dow. It is said that they got the length of accurately 
noting as many as five hundred different objects. I 
myself have trained a class by constant practice to dis- 
cover more from a five seconds' exposure of a picture 
than au untrained adult could accomplish in a couple of 

This is hardly the kind of training that the observa- 
tionist educationist clamours for. He wants the pupil 
to observe everything. He writes books like that tire- 
some "Eyes and No Eyes." He tells us of one-eyed 
dervishes who see more with their one eye than most of 
the rest of the world du with two. He cites men like 


Zadig, who earns the distinction of irapriaonment and 
ft heavy fine for telling all about a spaniel and a horse 
that he has never seen. In those days he points to the 
marvellous deeds of Sherlock Holmes. After reading 
one of this gentleman's wonderful cases, the educational 
reformer is apt to remark : " How simple it all is when 
once the method is explained ; if our children were 
taught to observe as they should, they could attain to 
something in the same direction." 

Now the famous detective is a very unfortunate il- 
lustration for the "observationists." His observation 
is not theirs. What they call observation, I fear he 
would call gaping. A " country walk " is the ideal 
occasion for the reformer's observation. The pupil is 
lUpposed to go along with all his senses on the alert. 
He is to observe the note of the skylark, the scent of 
the violets, the form of the clouds, the colour of the 
primroses, the smoothness of the grass, the springiness of 
the turf. He is to amble along with all the Five Gate- 
ways of knowledge wide open, and we know that the 
mouth is one of them. 

This diffused Sandford-and-Merton gaping is not 
observation as Holmes understood it. No doubt your 
typical detective of romance is always described aa be- 
ing specially observant, and this is sometimes iUus- 
trated by his marvellous powers of noticing all sorts of 
irrelevant things. For example, we have, in a detec- 
tive story of the Holmes class, an amusing description 
of the education of a detective, and a specimen of his 
powers when mature. He gives an inventory of what 
he has observed in a certain drawing-room : " Carpet, 


BrusBeU, whitiah ground sprinkled with largiah roses. 
Wall paper same shade as carpet, diamond pattern, 
in dull gold. Facing door, water colour; girl cross- 
ing stream on stepping-stone, making signs to little 
chap on bank. Over door, water colour ; old gentle- 
man, knee breeches, reading book in a wood. Twelve 
chairs, various — four easy, three spider-legged, in gold. 
Little round-topped table near window, microscope on 
it, and a bracket full o' books ; Tennyson's poems, 
green and gold, seven voUums ; Imitation of Ohriit, 
white vellum, gold letters ; foreign book in a yellow 
cover, don't know the name ; ' Leaders from the Timet,' 
two vollums, name of Phillips. Little cabinet in the 
corner, seven drawers, key in the middle drawer, basket 
of flowers and lady's photo on top. Chimley ornaments 
Dresden china, stag with antlers caught in a tree, left 
antler broke." ^ 

Mr. Prickett's observations might have been of value in 
view of a possible public auction, but they do not seem 
to help him much in his actual business. He would do 
well to remember his own pregnant words : " The major 
part of people ruins their memories with reading novels 
and songs and trash." With Holmes all this is differ- 
ent. The irrelevant catalogue observation is replaced by 
a carefully grouped selection of facts to note. He only 
looks for certain things. Indeed, he is careful not to let 
mere observation bulk too largely in his methods. It 
is only one of three essentials to success in his profes- 
sion. To the mind of the ordinary educational reformer 

' A DangeroU! Catapaw, by D. C. Morray Eind Henry Murny 
{Longmans, 1800), pp. 120-132. 


observation includes the whole three, though each ia 
really independent. 

It ia Holmes' biographer. Dr. Watson, who speaks 
in The Sign of Four : ^ — 

" ' But you spoke just now of observation and deduc- 
tion. Surely the one to some extent implies the other.' 

" ' Why, hardly,' he answered, leaning back luxuri- 
ously in his arm-chair, and sending up thick blue 
wreaths from his pipe. 'For example, observation 
shows me that you have been to the Wigmore Street 
post-office this morning, but deduction lets me know 
that when there you despatched a telegram.' 

"'Right!' said I. 'Right on both points. But I 
confess that I don't see how you arrived at it. It was 
a sudden impulse upon my part, and I have mentioned 
it to no one.' 

" ' It is simplicity itself,' he remarked, chuckling at 
my surprise — ' so absurdly simple that an explanation 
is superfluous : and yet it may serve to define the limits 
of observation and of deduction. Observation tells me 
that you have a little reddish mould adhering to your 
instep. Just opposite the Wigmore Street office they 
have taken up the pavement and thrown up some earth, 
which lies in such a way that it is difficult to avoid 
treading in it in entering. The earth is of this peculiar 
reddish tinge which is found, as far as I know, nowhere 
else in the neighbourhood. So much is observation. 
The rest ia deduction.' 

" ' How, then, did you deduce the telegram ? ' 

" ' Why, of course I knew that you had not written a 
1 Page 11. 


letter, since I sat opposite to jou all morning. I see 

also in your open desk there that you have a sheet of 
stamps and a thick bundle of post-eards. What could 
you go into the post-office for, then, but to send a wire ? 
Eliminate all other factors, and the one which remains 
must be the truth.' " 

In the above we have a typical example of the class 
of blunders commonly made with regard to observation. 
"Observation shows me that you have been to the 
Wigmore Street post-office," says Holmes. From his 
own implied definition of the term, this is not so. 
What he ought to l\ave said is what he says a Httle 
farther on: "Observation shows me that you have a 
little reddish mould adhering to your inatep." He 
puts the deduction in the wrong place. It begins 
aooner in the process than Holmes adraita. He did not 
observe Watson going into the post-office; he deduced 
this action from the red mould that he did observe. 
This mistake as to the precise limits of observation and 
deduction is continually heing made, and is the cause of 
much of the confusion that marks writing on this sub- 
ject. Nor is this to be wondered at when it is remem- 
bered that the limits of the two processes vary with the 
individual. For example, Holmes in a sense may be 
said not to have observed the red mould, but to have 
inferred it. What he did observe was a reddish stuff. 
From his previous experience of the stuff usually to be 
found on boots, he inferred that this stuff was mould. 
In the ultimate resort all that aay one can observe with 
the eyes are certain more or less irregular patches of 
colour. It is not necessary to go all the length with 



Binet, who maintains that all our interpretations of the 
ultimate elements of sense impression are rapid, un- 
consoious, logical inferences. It is enough to recognize 
that the point where conscious inference begins varies 
with the individual. 

The third essential to Holmes' wonder-working 
method may be gathered from the following concise 
criticism he passes upon a French colleague : " He 
possesses two oiit of the three qualities necessary for 
the ideal detective. He has the power of observation 
and that of deduction. He is only wanting in know- 
ledge, and that may come in time." ' 

Knowledge comes last in order, but it is first in im- 
portance. It is knowledge that directs observation, 
and gives it meaning. The story is told among the 
students of ProfessoF Bell of Edinburgh, who, as every- 
body knows, is the original of Sherlock Holmes, that 
he one day astonished his students by declaring that a 
patient who had just come to the infirmary and whom 
none of the students, nor the professor himself, had 
ever seen before, was a non-commissioned officer lately 
pensioned off, after serving for some time in a certain 
island in the West Indies. The age of the man, his 
bearing, the angle at which he wore his hat, certain 
peculiarities of his civilian dress, accounted for the pro- 
fession and rank of the patient ; the West Indies and 
the certain island were indicated by the marks of the 
bite of a certain insect which is found only in that 
island. It is obvious that however much the students 
had observed those marks, they could never have 
' The Sign of Four, p. 9. 


guessed the island apart from this very special bit of 

"Precisely," says the observationist, "and that la 
why people should be trained to more general obser- 
vation. Had the professor not observed that fact, the 
deduction would never have been made." We are thus 
brought face to face with the argument in favour of 
getting up facts for the use that may some time be made 
of them. Housewives have a foolish argument in 
favour of acciunulating rubbish ; it runs " Keep a thing 
for seven years and you will find a use for it." Bat if 
the observationist appeals to Holmes for justification in 
applying this principle to education, he will find him- 
self hoist with his own petar. Holmes makes short 
work of this system of accumulation. He is not a very 
profound pgychologist, and we shall attack his position 
directly; but the following statement^ effectually dia- 
poaea of the omnium gatherum theory of observation so 
far as he is concerned. 

"'You see,' he explained, 'I consider that a man's 
brain originally is like a little empty attic, and you 
have to stock it with such furniture as you choose. A 
fool takes in all the lumber of every sort that he eomes 
across, so that the knowledge which might be useful 
to him gets crowded out, or at best is jumbled up with 
a lot of other things, so that he has a difficulty in lay- 
ing his hands upon it. Now the skilful workman is 
very careful indeed as to what he takes into his brain- 
attic. He will have nothing but the tools which may 
help him in doing his work ; but of these he has a large 
1 A Study in .Scarlet, p. 20. 




assortment, and all in the most perfect order. It is a 

mistake to think tliat that little room has elastic walls 
and can distend to any extent. Depend upon it, there 
comes a time when for every addition of knowledge 
you forget something that you knew before. It is of 
the highest importance, therefore, not to have useless 
facts elbowing out the useful ones.' " ^ 

It would be hard to find a better example of the 
practical application of the Lockian principle than this 
eminently materialistic statement. Whether we regard ' 
it as the view of the clever detective or of the talented 
author, it is equally iustructive as representing the 
view of Psychology held by intelligent but unphilo- 
sopbic Englishmen. The mind is a mere knowledge-box 
of limited capacity. As soon as it is filled to a certain I 
point. It begins to leak, and all further attempts to 
acquire knowledge can only result in the losing of 
knowledge already acquired. It cannot he denied that 
knowledge does decay, that facts do slip out of our 
reach, but it is not true that the mind is the poorer for • 

Leaving out of account the loss of knowledge which \ 
results from the physical decay of the system when ] 
maturity is past, it may be maintained without an un- 
due appearance of paradox that this leakage of which 
Holmes complains is a positive advantage. It implies 
a losing of details, details which are a hindrance, 
not a help. Intellectual progress is a progress towards ] 
abstraction. A young mind or an untrained mind 

* There ia a, curious parallelism between the above and certaio r 
marks of Mr. PriclceU on p. 129 of A Dangerous Catapaiu. 


is full of pictured ideas, what are usually known as 
images. When a word is used, a picture arises in the 
mind. Somewhat more cultured minds generalize those 
pictures into what Romanes calls recepts. It is only in 
fairly well-trained minda that we reach what may be 
properly termed coucepts. Now this process is one of 
decay. The ideas that perish are exactly the kind that 
Holmes laments, and they must die if the concept is to 
he free. 

Another aspect of the same truth is to he found in 
the argument of the New Education in favour of the 
importance of forgotten knowledge. It is a huge mis- 
take to suppose that the man who has forgotten some- 
thing he once learned is in exactly the same position as 
if he had never known that something. However it 
may be with love, it is better to have learned and for- 
gotten then never to have learned at aU, True learning 
is really judicious forgetting. The great scientist is 
the man who has wisely di-opped out of knowledge all 
the myriad facts he had to examine in order to come to 
his valuable conclusions. The master of style is all the 
better that he has forgotten the authors on whose style 
his own was formed. The mind is an organism, and be- 
tween it and its contents there is continual reciprocal 
action and reaction. To Holmes it is a mere idea trap. 

We are not, therefore, surprised to find Holmes us 
notable for his ignorance as he is for his knowledge. 
He knew nothing about the solar system, and had 
never heard of Carlyle.' His biographer has drawn up 
1, he aiterwards quotes 




a tabular statement of Sherlock Holmes — his limi- 
tations.^ In this statement we find the word Nil « 
placed opposite Literature, Philosophy, and Astron- 
omy. Politics is feeble. Botany variable. Anatomy 
accurate but unsystematic, while Chemistry is marked 
profound, and credit is given for almost unlimited 
knowledge of the history of crime. A good practical 
acquaintance with British Law is added, and boxing, 
swordsmanship, and violiu-playing are thrown in aa 

What does all this amount to but a statement that 
Holmes had acquired an exceptionally well -developed 
apperception mass of things pertaining to the detection 
of crime? But such a mass, regarded as a mere col- 
lection of knowledge, seems inadequate to explain the 
wonderful things that Holmes does. If it did, it is 
objected, brilliant detectives could he manufactured 
at our schools and colleges as easily as we at present 
manufacture government officiala ; for in this respect 
Holmes is merely an exaggerated sample of the pop- 
ular process of specialized education. Holmes seems to 
feel this himself, and tries to explain his success as the 
result of his method. 

" ' In solving a problem of this sort,' says Holmes,^ 
'the grand thing is to be able to reason backwards. 
That is a very useful accomplishment, and a very easy 
one; but people do not practise it much. In the every- 
day affairs of life it is more useful to reason forwards, 
and BO the other comes to be neglected. There are 

' A Slwiy in ScarM, p. 21. 
' Ibid., p. 215. 


fifty who can reason synthetically for one who can 
, reason analytically.' 

" ' I confess,' said I, ' that I do not quite follow you.' 
" ' I hardly expected that you would. Let me see if I 
can make it clearer. Most people, if you describe a 
train of events to them, will tell you what the result 
would be. They can put those events together in their 
minds, and argue from them that something will come 
to pass. There are few people, however, who, if you 
told them a result, would be able to evolve from their 
own inner consciousness what the steps were which led 
up to that result. This power is what I mean when 
I talk of reasoning backwards, or analytically.'" 

From our point of view this passage is the most im- 
portant in the Holmes Memoirs. If it be true, our 
educational system is at fault. If the power of syn- 
thetic reasoning is fifty times better trained than that 
of analytic reasoning, there is something radically 
wrong. But can it be fairly charged to our training 
that we are weaker in analytical than in synthetical 
reasoning? la reasoning backwards really "a very 
easy" thing? Is there nothing in the conditions of 
the two cases that makes reasoning backwards more 
diEBcult than reasoning forwards ? He is, indeed, a dull 
novel-reader who cannot ring the marriage bells for 
himself without finishing the final chapter of the third 
volume of an old-fashioned novel ; but even Sherlock 
Holmes would find it difficult to accurately reconstruct 
the troublous scenes of the second and first volumes 
from the given result that they " lived happy ever 


To pass from a " train of events " to a result is easier 
tlian to reverse the process, if for no other reason than 
that more data are given. If we know that a vessel 
came into Aberdeen in an unseaworthy state, that half 
of her crew deserted her there, that she was laden with 
cargo till she dipped below the PlimsoU line, that her 
captain in a drunken fit insisted upon at once setting 
out to sea, and that immediately thereafter a wild gale 
had arisen, none of us would have any difficulty in 
coming to a fairly accurate conclusion as to the result 
of the affair. On the other hand, the general reader, say 
in Glasgow, who is told in his Herald that the Morning 
Star has been lost, with all hands, would have little 
chance of filling in the drunken captain and the rest. 

Even when a chain of facts is made up of links joined 
to one another in the most rigid logical relations, it is 
easier to begin with the elements and build up. No 
doubt we could teach the first hook of Euclid by be- 
ginning with the forty-eighth proposition and working 
backwards ; but we can hardly hope that teachers will 
adopt this method till at least its advantages can be 
made more evident than at present. 

It was not because Holmes could reason backwards 
that be beat the ordinary Scotland Yard detectives. 
When one of them, Lestrade, saw the letters R-A-C-H-E 
traced in blood upon the wall, the only idea that rose 
above the threshold of his consciousness was the word 
Rachel, and he at once came to the conclusion that a 
woman of that name had something to do with the 
crime, and proceeded to make a hypothesis that would 
fit into this fact. He reasoned backwards as easily and 


a,s accnrately as Holmes himself, the only difference 
being that Holmes' apperception mass contained the 
German word Rache, which means revenge. Holmes 
was right, Leatrade was wrong ; but it was not a matter 
of reasoning backwards or forwards ; it was a matter of 
knowledge. Like Bain's wild beast, Lestrade aprang 
upon Rachel, because Rache did not present itself. 

Holmes' method, indeed, is that of every scientific 
man in face of an unexplained fact. He gathers all 
the available information bearing upon the point at 
issue, ^ and allows all his apperception masses to act 
upon it. As soon as all the relevant ideas have pre- 
sented themselves, the soul pi'oceeds to arrange them 
in such a way as to produce the most harmonious com- 
bination. The process is, therefore, not purely analytic, 
as Holmes would have us believe, since its first step is 
the construction of a hypothesis which is a synthetic 
process. To make a hypothesis is really to discover a 
system of ideas in which all the given ideas will find a 
natural place. Holmes does not really analyze the 
whole of the material submitted to him, and pass by a 
regular aeries of deductions from the poisoned man to 
the poisoner. He gathers all the materials that mere 
observation can give, then casts about in his soul for a 
system of ideas that is, in itself, consistent with the 
nature of things as known to Holmes, and is not con- 
tradicted by any of the facts of the case in question. 
The analysis begins at the point when the hypothetical 

' The 8lore-room in which the facta are gathered corresponds to 
GaltoD'a "Aatechamber of ConsciouaneBS." See Human Faculty, 
pp. 203 fl., pnrtieularly p, 20fl. 



system has been constructed, and is being broken up 
into its details in order that these may be compared, bo 
as to show up any inconsistency. 

What gives an appearance of mystery to the whole 
process, is the suppression of the guiding hypothesis 
till such time as the author sees fit to divulge it. The 
reader is led on from point to point, in admiring amaze- 
ment at the acumen of the guide, who, all the time, has 
the enormous advantage of this enlightening hypothesis. 
No doubt the making of this hypothesis is in itself very 
creditable to the intelligent detective ; but it is not at 
all wonderful or mysterious, when the content of his 
soul ia taken into account. 

Every soul, when working in a familiar line, habitu- 
ally jwiipa over many steps in its reasoning ; while a 
soul unfamiliar with that special matter has painfully 
to develop and examine each step. How often do we 
find the mathematician thrust in a therefore at a ridicu- 
lously early stage in the demonstration, with the result 
that the novice requires a couple of foolscap pages of 
explanation. To take a more concrete case : — 

"When Captain Head was travelling across the 
Pampas of South America, his guide one day suddenly 
stopped him, and, pointing high into the air, cried out, 
'A lion!' Surprised at such an exclamation, accom- 
panied with such an act, he turned up his eyes, and 
with difficulty perceived, at an immeasurable height, a 
flight of condors soaring in circles in a particular spot. 
Beneath this spot, far out of sight of himself or guide, 
lay the carcass of a horse, and over that carcass stood, 
as the guide well knew, a lion, whom the condors were 



eying with envy from their airy height. The signal 
of the birds was to him what the sight of the 
would have been to the traveller, of fuU assurance of 
its existence." ^ 

Here it was not a case of reasoning backwards or for- 
wards. The guide was familiar with the phenomenon. 
Fact and explanation are so closely connected that they 
cannot be kept separate. Once we know the full mean- 
ing of the little black speck in the sky, all our wonder 
at the guide's cleverness vanishes. Holmes, you will 
remember, is always complaining that as soon as he ex- 
plains liow he comes to his conclusions, the wonder of 
his hearers disappears. 

Any one can follow the facts once they are placed in 
their true relations. The point of interest for us is how 
Holmes manages to find out those relations. 

We are apt to imagine from the narrative that the 
facts are known to all alike, to Scotland Yard and to 
the somewhat dull Dr. Watson, as well as to the brill- 
iant Holmes. Under this assumption lies the fallacy 
that the " facts " are a fixed quantity independent of 
the minds apperceiving them. But the mind, in acting 
upon a fact, modifies it. There may be a world of brute 
facts, a residual world that exists apart from and 
independent of any knowing mind; but with such a 
world we have very obviously nothing to do. The 
only facts we can deal with are those which have 
been acted upon by our own minds. Observation, as 
popularly understood, professes to bring us into con- 
nection with this world of brute facts, and is sup- 
' Quoted by Mai Mailer, Science of Thought, p. 8. 

gnal I 

lion I 



posed to have nothing to do with individual pecu- 

Now here, in the accompanjdng diagram (Fig. 1), is 
a brute fact. What does observation tell us about it ? 
What this brute fact means to my readers, I cannot 
pretend to say. To a class of young boys, experiment 
has taught me, it means a boat. To me, when I drew 
it, it was a square in a certain position. Even when 
the brute fact is given that it is a square, do all my 
readers apperceive it in the same way? A man igno- 
rant of perspective will simply smile, and wonder if I 
expect him to believe my word against the evidence of 


his own eyes. Those who know a little perspective 
will admit that it may be a square. Those who know 
more perspective will at once recognize that it is a 
square, in a plane parallel to the ground plane, placed 
a little above the level of the eye ; that the eye lies 
between the two lines A C, fii), but nearer A C than BD 
and that AB is nearer tlie spectator's eye than is CD. 

Is this difference in estimating the brute fact a re- 
sult of observation ? How long would a man who 
knew no perspective require to observe this brute fact 
in order to extract all this information from it ? The 
difference lies in the mind, not in the brute fact. 



Some of my readers, doubtless, have an uneasy feel- 
ing that all this is something very like quibbling, and 
may even feel inclined to say : " We are not talking 
of what the figure represents, but of what it is, as a 
matter of fact"; and mathematicians, with the assur- 
ance of their science, will settle the matter summarily 
by proclaiming that the figure is a "trapezoid, that and 
nothing else." From the voice of the mathematician 
there is no appeal ; I cannot expect any one to take my 
word against his. The figure is not then a square, as 
I had supposed, but a trapezoid. 

Let us try another brute fact. This time it is famil- 
iar to one section of my readers at any rate, so that I 
have some confidence in venturing upon a dispute with 
Mathematics, When I say that this diagram (Fig. 2) 
represents a certain kind of mending, known iis a "cross- 
cut darn," I am sure that the public feeling among my 
readers. will not allow Mathematics to bully me into 
saying that it is anything else. But somehow Mathe- 
matics lierself is not so eager this time to interfere 
in the case, and when appealed to she answers with a 
very uncertain sound. She says it may be a square 
with four right-angled triangles ; or it may be two 
large right-angled triangles partly coinciding with 
each other ; or it may be two rhomboids also partly 
coinciding ; or it may be one such rhomboid plus two 
right-angled triangles ; or it may be an irregular hexa- 
gon with two re-entrant angles and au inscribed square. 
When pressed into a corner, this time she declines to 
decide which of those possible things it really is ; it 
may be any of them, and we have to appeal from 

leel- I 


Euclid to the sewing mistreBs to discover that the two 
rhomboids give the true state of reality. 

But at this point our friend, the man in the street, 
strikes in and says that after all the reality of the 
diagram may he reduced to six ec[ual black lines on 
a white surface with an odd line in the middle. But 
being a fair-minded man, this objector admits that the 
six lines must be arranged in a particular order to pro- 
duce this particular kind of brute fact, and that the 
interpretation of those six lines must be left for the 
apperceiving mind. The geometrician's interpretation 
and that of the sewing mistress are both facts. They 
are entirely different, but they are both true. 

It is worth while noting that the odd line in the 
middle, which the mathematician ignored and the man 
in the street disparaged, is the key of the whole posi- 
tion, the cause of the whole construction. It is the 
tear in the cloth that the sewing mistress wishes to 
repair. It is no doubt highly creditable to her that 
she so readily sees that the drawing represents a tear 
and two rhomboids of darning to mend it, but her 
knowledge is hardly wonderful or mysterious. 

The little diamond panes that disturb us in church 
can fall at the word of command into groups of equi- 
lateral triangles, rhombuses, or hexagons, according to 
what we look for and expect to find. If I figure them 
as triangles, have I any right to say that my neighbour in 
the next pew is wrong in regarding them as hexagons ? 

Mere observation tells us that there are so many 
straight lines cutting each other at certain angles at 
certain places. How much of even this rudimentary 


knowledge is contributed by the mind itself is a ques- 
tion that the best-informed psychologists answer with 
the utmost diffidence ; but given this residuum of brute 
fact, there is no doubt at all that the mind does the 
rest. Says Hamlet : — 

"Do 70a see that cloud that's almoat in shape like a camel? 
Poloniia. By the mass, and 'tis like a camel, indeed. 
Hamlet. Methinks it is like a weaael. 
Poloiiius. It is backed like a weasel. 
Hamlet. Or like a whale? 
Poloniui. Very like a whale? " 

The groundlings laugh, and it is left for a German 
philosopher to discover that there may have been more 
Psychology than sycophantic agreement in the scene. 

It is often said with a sneer by half-educated people 
that certain pictures are so good that common folks 
cannot see the good points about them till the artist, 
or a superior critic, comes along and indicates them. 
The sneer expresses a literal truth. A trained eye 
does see in a picture things that are quite invisible to 
the lay spectator. It need not be that the critic sees 
more in the way of mere lines and colours ; it is merely 
that he understands what to look for, what to direct 
his attention to, how to combine what his senses pre- 
sent to him.^ 

Every time that a hearer in church is charmed with 

' This seems a better explanation than that supplied by Jacotot, 
Enseignement Universel, De 1' Improvisation, p. 283. Of the artist ho 
there sajs: "11 retaarqiiail qu'il avail remarqne: Toilft sa supSri- 
orit*." Tliis corresponds to the Hegelian " bringing to aoU-con- 
" and represents at least a part of the truth. 



P a new and unexpected rendering of a familiar text, he 
• is having a lesson in the activity of the mind in the 
making of knowledge. Browning is reported to have 
said that his obscure poem " Childe Roland to the Dark 
Tower came " meant to every man exactly as much as 
he could take out of it. This poem has nearly as many 
interpretations as readers. 

A certain clever inspector of schools, complaining 
of the exclusively bookish training given in our schools, 
made the remark — " Our children are treated like 
pointers : they are trained to bark at print." The edu- 
cation of actual experience is open to tlie same condem- 
nation. We are all trained to bark at something ; and, 
each in our own field, we can do wonderful things — 
not because our senses are keener, but because our 
knowledge is fuller and better arranged in our own 
special directions. 

The doctor who calls on a patient for the first time 
sees no more than do the anxious friends who have 
sent for him ; the only difference is that the brute facts 
of the case are no longer brute facts to him ; he fits 
them into their places in a little cosmos that he carries 
about with him. Thoughtless people are apt to ex- 
press this by saying that his powers of observation 
have been trained ; but the obvious limit to this is that 
the resulting power is strictly confined to a certain 
class of facts. Outside of his own department a doctor 
is no more observant than other folks. Indeed, a doc- 
tor who gains distinction in other (not cognate) fields 
than Medicine, is apt to lose his patients and his 


being I 
ied to ' 

It is related of Coleridge and two friends that, 
anxious to leave a busy inn in a hurry, they tried to 
harness their liorse for themselves. Everything went 
well with the three philosophers till they came to the 
horse's collar. This fairly brought them to a stand- 
still. It seemed to be made on the moat unphilosophi- 
cal principles, and in spite of all their efforts could not 
be forced over the animal's head. It was not till the 
press of business had so far slackened as to allow the 
maid-servant to make her appearance, that they came 
to some understanding of the teleology of horse collars. 
She simply reversed the collar, slipped it thus over 
the horse's head, and then re-reversed it. 

It would be silly to compare the maid- servant's brain 
with Coleridge's : the whole point lies in the fact that 
her apperception mass presented the problem in quite 
a different light from that in which it had struck him. 

So constant is the relation between a given appercep- 
tion mass, and the resulting reaction upon a given brute 
fact, that not only can we to some extent predict how a 
given mind will treat a given fact, but from the re- 
action upon a given fact we may make a fair guess at the 
apperception mass in question. Professor H. Steinthal, 
in his Einleitung in die Psyehologieu. Spraehwitsenstchaft} 
gives the following story ; — 

" In a railway carriage compartment sit in lively con- 
versation half a dozen persons totally unacquainted 
with each other. It is a matter of regret that one of 
the company must get out at the next station. An- 
other remarks that he particularly likes such a meeting 
1 Page 187. 


with totally unknown folks, and that he never either 
asks who or what hia travelling companions may be, or 
tells on such an occasion who or what he himself is. 
Thereupon one of the company says that if the othera 
will not say what they are, he will pledge himself to 
find out, if only every one will answer him a quite irrel- 
evant question. This was agreed to. Taking five 
leaves from his note-book, he wrote on each a question, 
and handed one to each of his companions, with the 
request to write the answer upon it. After they had 
given him back the sheets, he said, as soon as he had 
read an answer, and without reflection, to one, ' You 
are a scientist ' ; to another, > You are a soldier ' ; to the 
third, ' You are a philologist ' ; to the fourth, ' You a 
political writer'; to the fifth, 'You a farmer.' All 
admitted that he was right. Then he got out and left 
the five behind. Each wanted to know what question 
the others had got, and behold one and the same ques- 
tion had been proposed to all. It ran — 

" ' What being itself destroys what it has brought 
forth ? ' 

" To this the scientist had answered, Vital Force ; the 
soldier. War; the pliilologist, fironoa ; the writer, ^ero- 
lution ; tlie farmer, A boar. 

" That is the tale, of which I say that if it is not true 
it is remarkably well made up. The narrator further 
puts these words into the mouth of the political writer : 
'Just there comes in the joke. Each answers what 
first occurs to him, and that is what is most nearly 
related to his caUing. Every question is a hole-boring 
experiment, and the answer is a hole through which 


one may peep into our inner nature.' So the Hcee 
fabula docet is expressed in the form of practical know- 
ledge of human nature. So we are all wont to do. It 
is easy for any one to know the clergyman, the soldier, 
the savant, the man of business, not only by the out- 
ward signs of clothing, bearing, etc., but also by what 
they say, and how they express it. We guess a man's 
position in life by what interests him, and how he 
shows his interest, by the objects of which he speaks, 
by hia way of regarding, judging, and conceiving 
things, that is to say, by bis way of apperceiviTt^." 

Perhaps we need not have gone so far afield for our 
illustration. Not long ago, in the Infant Department 
of one of our Aberdeen schools, a little boy was sent 
by the mistress to post a letter. So long did he remain 
away that anxiety began to arise as to the cause of his 
delay. With that free and easy interchange of opinion 
that unfortunately does not survive promotion from 
the infant room, the little ones began to console the 
mistress by suggesting various reasons for their com- 
panion's absence. Each suggestion was very obviously 
drawn from the personal experience of the little com- 
forter who offered it, and each gave some indication of 
the mode of life of the speaker. ISut the typical case 
was that of the little fellow who suggested that the 
absentee was delayed by the difficulty of " licking the 
stamp off, clean." You will not be surprised to learn 
that this pessimist was the son of a wandering tinker 
who had taken up a very temporary abode near the 

All teachers are aware that every answer a pupil 


gives ia an indication of what goes on in his mind. 
The fundamental mistake we are apt to make is to 
neglect this aspect of the matter, and to act as if each 
answer had only an absolute value in itself, in relation to 
an absolute outside fact. The question of questions for 
a teacher must be "How does this strike my pupil?" 

In his recently published Studies of Childhood, Pro- 
fessor Sully ^ lays stress on the foUy of parents who take 
young children to see landscapes from favourable points 
of view. He shows that the child cannot see the view 
as a whole ; he has not that sense of freedom that dis- 
tance and wide expanse always bring to an adult. 
The child merely picks out some prominent feature, 
usually close at hand, and almost invariably of no inter- 
est to grown-up folks, and pins all his attention on that, 
The whole progress in knowledge is from a vague un- 
seen to a clearly seen whole. The educator who sfeeks 
to cultivate observation by supplying materials to gape 
at, does not know the rudiments of his art. True 
observation is the offspring of interest and knowledge. 

We observe easily what we are interested in or what 
we already know something about, so the teacher in 
seeking to train observation must give up attending 
to the keenness of an eagle's sight and the delicacy 
of a dog's sense of smell, and turn to consider interest 
and knowledge. 

A professor who is a passenger on a sailing vessel 

has been admiring the keenness of observation of the 

sailor on the lookout. But when he and the sailor are 

reading the most recent available newspapers in the 

1 Op, ci{., p. 30fl. 


twilight, the surprising phenomenon occurs that the 
eagle-eyed sailor is the first who has to give up oh 
account of the failing light. A few questions and a 
little thought explain the whole matter. In the dusk 
the sailor could still more than hold his own in the 
way of distinguishing ohjects ia the ship or even in 
determining the number of dots in certain spaced-out 
advei-tisements, but in the actual reading the professor 
was clearly ahead. The sailor's sense impression was 
keener, but the professor, so far as reading went, was 
the better observer, 

Interest and knowledge are too important to be 
treated satisfactorily at the end of a chapter ; in the 
meantime it ia enough to remark that they mutually 
determine and react upon each other. In view of 
this, the teacher's first duty is to ascertain the contents 
of the mind of his pupils, and then to bring within 
their reach materials specially prepared for those minds 
to react upon. Children can observe only what their 
apperception masses are prepared to act upon; to all 
else they are literally blind, deaf, callous. 

To cultivate observation, then, is not to train the 
eye, the ear, the hand, to extreme sensitiveness, but 
ratlier to work up well-organized knowledge within the 
mind itself. If we desire minute observation in a defi- 
nite direction, we must cultivate special knowledge to 
correspond. If we wish to encourage general observa- 
tion, we can only succeed by cultivating wide interests. 

The reciprocal interaction of interest and knowledge 
in relation to external facts, is what ought truly to be 
called observation. 



One need not be greatly ashamed at not knowing 
laaae Habrecht. He is not exactly what might be 
called a famous man. Indeed, the only positive in- 
formation that I can give about him at thia moment is 
that he lived at Strasburg in the early sixteen hun- 
dreds ; and was not like Charles the Second. For 
Isaac once said a foolish thing. Professor Laurie 
makes him responsible for the following : " One would 
learn to know all the animals of the world more quickly 
by visiting Noah's Ark than by traversing the world, 
and picking up knowledge as we went." ^ 

Without professing too intimate an acquaintance 
with honest Isaac, we may on the ground of this asser- 
tion fairly charge him with intellectual greed. In 
learning as in commerce, there are those who go wrong 
by hasting to be rich, and in both eases the results are 
often disastrous. If Isaac merely meant that it is 
easier to arrive at the names of animals via the Ark, 
his remark might be readily passed j but from the school 
to which he belonged we know that he aimed at more 
than that, and by reaching at too much he would cer- 
tainly have lost all, had he been favoured with a free 
pass to the Ark. For of all places in the world a wild- 
' ComeniuB, p. 32. 


beast show is the last to which a reasonable man would 
go to acquire a true knowledge of animals. A lion in 
a menagerie labours imder nearly as great a disadvan- 
tage as does a fine picture in a picture gallery. 

No respectable boy who has made his first acquaint- 
ance with the king of beasts in the stirring pictures 
of his Standard II. Reader, will recognize him in the 
mangy overgrown dog that growls over its shreds of 
putrid flesh behind the bars of the sordid caravan cage. 
The boy is right. Of the two, the paper lion is truer 
to life. No doubt the caged animal does convey some 
real knowledge of details, — form, size, colour, and the 
like J for degrade him as you will, he is a lion for all 
that. But we have emancipated ourselves from the 
dominion of mere brute fact. What we see behind 
the bars there is only a part, and by no means the 
most important part, of what holds a place in our 
minds as a lion. Had Isaac had an opportunity of 
visiting the Ark, he would have had to bring with him 
a great deal more lion than he found there. 

This Noah's Ark teaching represents a noble idol of 
the school. The pupil is taught to play the part of a 
little Adam, and all the animals are brought before him 
to see what he will call them. If he can give them 
the names that the master is accustomed to, all is well. 
Good educational work is supposed to have been done. 
A child who has seen a camel, and who can recognize 
a camel when he sees one, is regarded as knowing the 
camel. In a certain aspect this view is right. It is 
the opposite of that which insists with wearisome itera- 
tion of having " things, not words." Neither things nor 


names must be raised to a place of absolute importance. 
Neither by itself is useful to man as a rational educa- 
ble being. Suppose a boy to know all the animals in 
the Ark by head-mark without knowing the names of 
any, is he much better off than the boy who knows all 
the names of the animals, but cannot distribute his 
names properly? The truth is that name and thing are 
of precisely equal value in education : each by itself is 
naught ; each owes its importance to the other. The 
lowest step in knowledge is the unifyuig in one idea 
the name and the thing. Till this has been done, no 
progress can be made. In the Ark there must be 
no lack of old-fashioned courtesy. We must not ad- 
dress ourselves to the animals without being properly 

Once this formality lias been gone through, and we 
know to whom we are speaking, the acquaintanceship 
may be cultivated in two totally different ways. When 
we are thrown into a new circle of acquaintances, we 
study them after two distinct fashions. We may con- 
sider each man by himself, note all his mental and 
physical qualities, and strive to understand his charac- 
ter. On the other hand, we may pay little attention to 
the man himself, but may carefully look up some book 
when we get home — Debrett if he is a really fine speci- 
men, Whitaker if he is only respectable, and the City 
Directory in other cases. 

Now, who shall say that a public dinner or ball is 
the best place to arrive at a speedy knowledge of those 
human beings we are thus studying? No one can fail 
to note that men and women in such surroundings are 



not their natural selves, jet Isaac calmly aasmnes that 
the animals in the Ark were at their ease. What could 
be more unnatural than the sight that " Juveniles under 
twelve" are privileged to see for sixpence ? Wrenched 
from their true environment, and thrust into another, 
full of incongruities, none of the aniniala appears at ita 
usual, not to say its best. The elephant alone, and 
perhaps the camel, retains some degree of naturalness, 
maybe because lie is big enough to supply a sort of 
environment for himself. 

For the former of the two kinds of knowledge 
referred to above, the Ark certainly offers distinct 
facilities. We can examine each animal in great 
detail, we can compare one animal with another, we 
can classify them, and, crowning giory, we can be 
prepared to be examined upon them. So far as the 
minute study of each individual animal goes, Ark edu- 
cation is perfectly sound ; for each fact in Anatomy or 
Physiology is not an isolated fact, but a fact which hnds 
a place and an explanation in the organism in which it 
is found. The hard leathery pads on the camel's legs, 
for example, and its humps, can be to some extent at 
least explained by discovering their relation to the 
other parts of the animal's frame. The finger at the 
end of the elephant's trunk readily demonstrates ita 
own place and usefulness in the elephant's organism. 

Can the same be said of the animal as a whole? 
Itself an organism, and therefore a harmony of parts 
and forces, it can explain any part of its being by the 
simple expedient of merely living. Any question 
regarding the members or functions of the elephant's 



body ia reudily answered by a, good-natured solvitur 
amiulando. But while the organism can explain its 
parts, can it explain itself? The elephant which can 
combine into an organic system all the forces which 
its life implies, is itself but part of a higher organism 
which the elephant cannot explain, but which must 
rather explain the elephant. To know the elephant 
as part of this higher organism, we must see it acting 
as a member of that organism. We must, in other 
words, study the elephant in its natural state, and 
amid its natural surroundings. 

This, then, is the great defect of Ark education. It 
tears away objects from their natural surroundings, 
and thus renders them meaningless ; then it tries to 
make up for tins loss of meaning by studying with 
great elaboration the details of the objects thus un- 
naturally isolated. The ever-ready objection is here 
at once brought forward: it is said that it is impos- 
sible to include such a wide sweep as a full explana- 
tion of anything would demand. The teacher may 
naturally hesitate to enter on his requisition sheet to 
his board, under the head Apparatus : " Two elephants 
with jungle, complete." But while the absurdity of 
this demand in practical education is cheerfully ad- 
mitted, its reasonableness from the theoretical stand- 
point may be sturdily maintained. If the elephant is 
to be truly understood, the jungle with all its acces- 
sories must be supplied. The only other way, and a 
much better one, is to apply the lesson of the story of 
Mahomet and the Mountain. If the teacher cannot 
supply a real jungle as well as a real elephant, then 


the pupils muBt seek out the elephant in his native 
wilds. This "traversing the world" is not so expedi- 
tious a plan as visiting the Ark, but it is the only way 
in which true knowledge may be "picked up," 

To be sure, a child may fare exceedingly well in thia 
world without visiting either the Ark or the jungle. 
But the comparative insignificance of the elephant as 
an object of knowledge in no way diminishes the impor- 
tance of the educational principle involved. For thia 
Ark education is by no means limited to the study of 
the beasts that went in by tlieir twos and their sevens. 
Museum teaching of all kinds comes under the same 
condemnation. Most of us have laughed all the freah- 
neas out of the story of the man who carried about a 
brick as a specimen of the house he had for sale. Yet 
the same old joke, from tliat serioua side that every 
joke has, is being played every day upon our helpless 
pupils. Half of the contents of most museums are 
veritable bricks from houses tliat none of the visitors 
ever has seen or is likely to see. 

The present outcry for school niuseuma may be re- 
garded as a latter-day tribute to old Isaac's theory of 
Ark education. The heaped-up curiosities in the spare 
room of a school may be supposed to save the pupil 
the labour of wandering about to pick up knowledge 
for himself. If this be the view adopted, it ought 
to be a matter of rejoicing rather than regret that 
distinguished advertisers are beginning to find the 
demands of teachers too costly to be met. It is to be 
remembered that a museum is a place for instructian 
of one kind only, and that not the most important. 



place is not at the beginning of a study, but at the end. 
Can any one imagine a more dreary way of beginning 
the study of Botany than to pore over a book of dried 
specimens ? To the boy who has collected plants, who 
has seen them in their natural state, the book may be 
both interesting and instructive. But to introduce a 
boy to Botany in this way is as irrational as to com- 
mence a student of Psychology with an examination of 
the Mummy Room in the British Museum. The study 
of detail which a museum favours can only he profit- 
ably carried on when the place in nature of the object 
studied has been clearly grasped. 

If school museums and schoolboy collections alone 
were involved, no great harm would be done. But 
Isaac's Ark teaching is by no means confined to Zool- 
ogy. It permeates the whole school system. The 
teacher is forever preparing his little list of specific 
gravities, or genders, or constitutional changes, or words 
Bounding the same but spelled differently. These are 
all little arks, each with its more or less choice selection 
of animals which can be thus more quickly known than 
they could be had the pupil to find them out for himself 
in their natural place. Yet, after all, those collections 
are only little arks, mere local branches of the great 
Noah's Ark* tliat dominates all schools. For Isaac has 
not been left without successors who have marched 
with the times. The short cut to knowledge is not the 
menagerie or the museum. The Ark of Arks in edu- 
cation is the dictionary. There they lie, those queer 
verbal beasts, arranged, like their prototypes in the real 
Ark, not according to their true nature, but according 


to an arbitrary system that happens to suit the i 
ience of dictionary makers. There they lie, the haughty 
Hagiolatry beside the humble Mag, the awe-inspiring 
Abracadabra cheek by jowl witli the artless Abroad^ just 
aa in the genuine Ark the lion may have occupied the 
next berth to the lamb. 

We have reason to know that Isaac strongly approved 
of the dictionary system, as a means of saving time. 
The plan is not a good one. I have special reasons for 
knowing this. A boy with whom I am particularly 
well acquainted tried it. In the youth of the individ- 
ual, as in the youth of the race, there is a strong liking 
for heroic methods. Some hunger for dragons to slay, 
others would be content with Boers. The dictionary 
was good enough for John. 

With that keen eye for short cuts that characterizes 
every respectable schoolboy, John observed tliat he 
had to waste a great deal of time in looking up the same 
word again and again in the dictionary. The annoy- 
ance of having to turn up a word only to recognize it 
as an old friend the moment he had got the place in 
the dictionary, was so great and so frequently repeated 
that he cast about in his mind for a remedy. Then an 
unfortunate remark of his teacher occurred to him. It 
was not a strikingly original remark, but John was not 
overcritical at that stage. It was something to the 
effect that the quickest way, in the long run, was to 
learn each thing perfectly when one was about it at 
any rate. There were more remarks about an invading 
army in a hostile country, and fortresses that could not 
be left untaken in the rear ; but John instinctively knew 



that this was not of any consequence. He was quite 
clear on one point, — that if once he had conquered the 
dictionary, he would be saved an intolerable amount of 
turning of leaves during Latin preparation. So he faced 
his gigantic task, and tackled his dictionary. It was 
Smith's ; not, of course, the bigger one, but the one 
you get for seven-and-six. When John started, he 
felt almost sorry it was not the larger one. When one 
is doing a thing thoroughly at any rate, it seems a pity 
not to do the biggest as well as the best. The regret 
did not last long. Nor did the experiment. John 
never seemed to have much to say on the subject dur- 
ing the remainder of his school-days. Of one thing he 
was quite convinced, ■ — that all the interest of his esperi- 
ment fell to the lot of those who stood by and looked 
on. It was from that date that John began to attach a 
meaning of his own to the popular paradox, — the long- 
est way round is the shortest way home. 

What John ignorantly but gallantly attempted, is set 
as a sober task to our pupils at aehooi. I do not refer to 
the inhuman proposal of Comeniua that pupils should 
be made to learn by rote, before beginning Latin, a 
lexicon of one hundred folio pages. We have got 
beyond absolute barbarism. It is admitted now that 
the whole Ark is too heavy a burden ; so various sub- 
sections are marked off to be conquered in turn. To 
learn lists of "meanings" is only a new, a Napoleonic, 
way of mastering the dictionary. But words, like ani- 
mals, refuse to be understood when examined through 
bars or under glass cases. From the dictionary we 
may learn all about their size, their form, their spell- 


ing ; we may wallow in derivation ; but the dictionary 
can only give a few vague equivalents from which we 
may draw a sort of average meaning ; or it may give a 
long list of special teclmical meanings. In no way can 
we attain to a command of the word, save by using it 
and hearing it used by others. 

' It is a natural criticism that interposes here with the 
question : surely the master cannot be blamed for see- 
ing that his pupil understands the meaning of tlie words 
he uses. It may be asked " Can a pupil be supposed 
to know, in the sense of understand, a word of which 
he cannot give the meaning?" The answer is an em- 
phatic Yes. Most people in the world use freely and 
intelligently words that they cannot in any way define. 
Take a Junior class, and ask the meaning of No. After 
the first pityiug smile at such an easy question has passed 
away from the faces of the youngsters, it will be suc- 
ceeded by a sheepish expression which gradually gives 
place to a distinct uneasiness when it is found that the 
wretched little word has more fight in it than they had 
bargained for, I shall be surprised to learn that a single 
child in the class is able to give a correct answer. Are 
we, then, to assume that the class does not understand the 
meaning of No? The question cannot be taken seriously. 

By examijung the " meanings " offered by the chil- 
dren in their vain attempt to define the word, we may 
get a clearer idea of how a word may be understood 
while defying all the attempts of the user to reduce 
it to a clear isolated expression. Some of the mean- 
ings offered during an actual experiment were : " Not 
to do it " ; " None of it " ; " Not to go " ; " You won't 



give me leave " ; " Less than one." All these expres- 
sioQB (except perhaps the last, the work of a clever 
arithmetician) imply a previous expression which they 
negative. Every child obviously knows when to say 
No. In other words, the pupils can use the word, and 
can understand it when used. What they cannot do 
is to separate it from its context and place it in a 
museum of words, in a dictionary. 

This definition test, practically the only one in many 
schools, does very serious harm. After using a word 
easily and naturally, a child may pass to an intelligent 
definition of it; but to pass from the definition of a 
word to the intelligent use of it is by no means so easy. 
No doubt one gets to the definition meaning of a word 
more rapidly through the dictionary than through using 
the word, but the definition meaning la practically use- 
less to the child. It is an empty generalization useful 
only to those who have already at their disposal a large 
stock of experience bearing upon the word. It is an 
unwise haste that loads a child's mind with meanings 
that his experience cannot make real. We cannot 
hasten a child's development by saving him some of 
the trouble and labour of arriving at generalizations. 
Each chdd must work for his own generalizations, just 
as each child must eat for his own nourishment. Fes- 
tina lente, say some educationists, shoidd be printed in 
letters of gold over the door-posts of every school-room. 
School-board members will be glad to learn that the 
ratepayers need never be called upon for this enormous 
outlay. The teacher has no need of the golden sign- 
board. Its advice is no doubt of the best. But nature 


takea care that her best advice is attended to without 
the formality of a sign-boatd. We cannot do other 
than hasten slowly. Rousseau put the same truth in 
a slightly different way when he told teachers that the 
moat important lesson for the teacher of young children 
was how wisely to lose time. So far from hurrying his 
pupils off to the Ark, Rousseau would deliberately set 
them off on their travels to traverse the world, if by 
any chance they might pick up a first-hand acquaintance 
with the animals in their natural states. He who would 
save his time, must lose it. 

At the bottom of this foolish hasting is the miscon- 
ception of the place of childhood in human experience. 
Besides being a stage towards a fuller development, 
childhood is an end in itself ; it has its place and func- 
tion in nature apart from the manhood to which it forms 
an introduction. " What is a boy ? " is the question 
with which the philosopher in the story staggered the 
nurse who had come to proclaim the joyful news : " It's 
a boy, sir." She waa unprepared with an answer, and 
too many teachers share her embarrassment. Under- 
lying all our notions about boys lurks the misleading 
definition : " A little man." Now this is precisely what 
a boy is not. He is no more a little man than a tadpole 
is a little frog, or a grub a little butterfly. It is only 
in some of the old masters that we find a boy drawn as 
if he were merely a man set out on a smaller scale. 

The evil effects of this little-man theory are seen in 
the practical view of education. Your practical man 
looks with regretful respect at the little chick that pro- 
ceeds straight from its egg to ita first lunch, then he 

The psychological 175 

turns bitterly to compute the long years that must be 
wasted before his own otfBpriug can, as he says, " come 
to anything." It is »nly after years of earnest en- 
deavour that he gives up in despair the attempt to put 
old heads on young shoulders. 

The fallacy of saving the time of the pupil is 
matched by a not less dangerous fallacy which has of 
late been coming into greater prominence since the first 
fallacy has been more or less completely exploded. This 
second fallacy lies in the desire to save the children 
trouble. If the poor little beggars must spend such an 
unconscionable time before they can begin the real busi- 
ness of life, let them at least have as much pleasure at 
school as possible. To this every well-conditioned 
teacher will utter a loud Amen. It is in the foolish 
way in which this happiness is sought that the danger 
lies. Labour-saving appliances are so common, and so 
eagerly sought after in ordinary life, that it is little to 
be wondered at that tlie same craving should arise in 
connection with school work. It seems eminently 
sensible, not to say humane, to save ehildi-en as much 
labour as possible. But it is necessary for parents and 
teachers alike to remember that children are not sent to 
school to be saved trouble, but to be taught how to take 
trouble. Taking pains is one of the main things to be 
learnt at school. 

The circumstances of the school-room are not those 
of ordinary life. In the farm and the workshop the 
thing to be done is the important matter, — the corn to 
be produced or the plough to he made. So long as the 
corn is good and abundant, and the plough well-made 



and serviceable, the lesa labour spent in their produc- 
tion the better. In education the conditions are re- 
versed. The process is everything, the material result 
nothing. A blotted and blurred copy-book is not, in 
itself, of any value. Yet it may be a record of very 
successful teaching. There is a danger of this distinc- 
tion being overlooked in the most unexpected quarter. 
Every one who knows anything of the principles upon 
which the kindergarten system is foitnded must be 
surprised at tiie pernicious practice — fostered, if not 
created, by school-shows — of regarding the work of 
children as in itself valuable. It is not to be forgotten 
that psychological principles demand that the hideous 
erection of matches and soft peas must be regarded by 
the little architect as an end in itself. If this were not 
so, the work towards that end would be in vain. To 
work for the mere sake of work is unintelligent, mean- 
ingless. The child only does his best when he earnestly 
desires to attain an end, even though that end be but 
an amorphous mass of whitish clay that a complaisant 
teacher is willing to recognize as a pear. It is one 
thing, however, to recognize this ceramic fruit as an 
educational end, and quite another to admit that it has 
any value in itself. It is true that some of the kinder- 
garten paper work and drawings are in themselves pretty 
enough, in their childish way, to deserve attention on 
their own merits. But with regard to such objects two 
things must be observed. First, that the beauty of the 
result has no relation whatever to the value of the work 
which produces it. Secondly and chiefly, that a con- 
sideration of the results in themselves givt 


strong temptation to neglect the most profitable wayB 
of attaining results, and to adopt easy methods of pro- 
ducing striking but uneducative results. 

This has been the case in dictionary work. The aim 
has been to get up as many words as possible. The 
dictionary is obviously the most convenient place to 
find words. Lists, vocabularies, thesauruses, and sylvas 
have been prepared and gobbled. Time and trouble 
are both saved, and it is only those who have looked 
carefully into the matter who have been convinced that 
the results of the Noah's Ark method are rotten at the 

It goes without saying that the dictionary has a place 
in education, - — a place in which it can do adminible 
work. If Noah's Ark were at this moment available 
for school purposes, he would be, indeed, a foolish 
teacher who did not avail himself of the opportunity; 
but he would not take his pupils there in order merely 
to save time and trouble. We must work up to the Ark, 
not down from it. We must go to the dictionary to 
find the meaning of words we have actually met; we 
must not go to it as to an armoury of words where we 
may choose what is best suited to our purpose. 

Most people do not recognize Hans Sachs aa a poet 
of the first rank. But if any are in doubt about the 
matter, they will no longer hesitate after seeing the 
picture at Nuremberg, in which he is represented as 
marking off with his fingers the feet of the verses. 
This is not the way true poetry is made. Fingering ia 
as fatal in poetry aa in the infant room. Your genuine 
Noah'a Ark poet goes a step higher. In hia case the 


numbers, indeed, come; it is the rhymea that trouble 
him. There is a question that must have arisen at 
some time or other in every thinking mind — who buys 
the ihj-ming dictionaries? We hear of such books, 
and we see them advertised. Has any of my readers 
over seen one of them in actual use? Can the Poet's 
Corner in local newspapers, the Young Ladies' Album 
of verses, the literature of St. Valentine's day and 
Christmas time, and the needs of the desperate adver- 
tiser account for the consumpt ? Or must we include 
a certain number of copies as belonging to the regular 
army of Parnassus, the genuine poets? The biogra- 
phers of those men are strangely silent on this point; but 
in the absence of positive evidence to the contrary, we 
may safely follow our natural impression, and repudiate 
any such aid in the making of In Memoriam, or even 
The Lady of the Lake. The rhymes, like the numbers, 
must "come," if there is to be genuine poetry. 

The rhyming dictionary ia an excellent illuBtration 
for our purpose, since it can only be used in the way 
we object to. No one consults it save to get words to 
use, and when found, the words are not the servants of 
the word-hunter, but his masters. You cannot dig 
poetry out of a dictionary. Oliver Wendell Holmes 
makes merry over the algebraic lines: — 

_______ morning. 

_______ warning. 

Yet the bald rhymes and the threadbare thoughts 
represented by the dashes, indicate as a rule better 

liOQICAL conceit: and the fSV'CHOLOGICAL 179 

sense tlian your schoolboy can produce when let loose 
upon a dictionary. The legitimate and the illegitimate 
use of the dictionary may be very clearly illustrated by 
the English-Latin and the Latin-English sections of 
school lexicons. The former goes from the known to 
the unknown, it is true, but it does not show the way. 
The boy knows all the words in a given Latin sentence 
except the word genus. He looks up the word and 
finds a crowd of meanings, among which he sees that 
kind is the one that fits into his sentence. If, on the 
other hand, he is driven to look up the word for kind in 
an English sentence dealing with a kind father, etc., he 
gets a variety of unknown words all equally meaning- 
less, and the chances are strongly in favour of his pass- 
ing over the clumsy lenignus in preference for the 
simple ge^ms pater. He is a fortunate teacher who has 
never in his manuscript reading come across this pleas- 
ant old gentleman. 

We may not go quite the length of Professor Ramsay 
of Glasgow, who used to invite a bonfire of English- 
Latin dictionaries after the pattern of the magic-books 
of the Ephesiansj but all wise teachers will make a rule 
that no boy should ever be led into the temptation of 
using a word he has not had occasion to see in actual use. 

As a matter of fact, the dictionary meaning of a 
word is only one out of many meanings. The word 
man, in its dictionary sense, means a rational animal. 
When the young scout who has been left to keep 
guard while his fellows do a deed of daring, calls 
out, "There's the man," does he mean "There's the 
rational animal " ? Does he not rather mean " There's 


the animal that can hurt " ? Yet yon will search the best 
dictionaries in vain for any hint of this meaning of man, 
A reasonably stout dictionary will give a great list 
of the different meanings of man, but the number of 
meanings given is as nothing compared with the number 
of meanings not given. The word varies in meaning 
with almost every sentence we use. This truth may 
be expressed by saying that the unit of meaning is not 
the word, but the sentence. Those fond of reasoning 
by metaphor will be pleased with the statement that 
the sentence is not a mechanical mixture of a certain 
number of independent words, but is rather a chemical 
compound in wliich the elements (in this case words) 
■ acc[uire an entirely new character, through their rela- 
tion to the whole. Substituting a plain statement for 
the metaphor, we may say that the sentence is the 
organism in which the individual words find their true 
meaning because they find their tnie place. In the 
dictionary the word is wrenched away from this com- 
bining and explaining whole, and accordingly becomes 
to a large extent meaningless. Even when we happen 
to discover tlie meaning of a word from the dictionary, 
we find that we are really supplying, more or less un- 
consciously, a context. To treat a word apart from any 
context is to reduce it to nothing. 

" Aa when we dwell upon a word we know, 
RepeatiDg till the word we koow SO well 
Becomes a wonder, and we know not why." 

The poet does not know why, and does not want to 
know. To him the luxury of ignorance is possible; 



to the teacher it is dented. There is, indeed, little 
mystery aboat the matter after all. By coHBtniitly 
thinking about one word, we t«nd to make it ttli object 
of our undivided attention. It is 80|Kimt«d frttm fto 
context, it loses its relatione, it becomeB a thing In 
itself, and as such disappears from our intelligence 
altogether. DeterminatioD is negation ; absulute de- 
termination is absolute negation. 

Obviously there must be in tliis nitionikl world of 
ours a place and function for tho diotionnry. To deny 
this were to fly in the face of common aeime itwlE. Hid 
not Johnson write a dictionary/ Nor in it nu dillluult, 
after all, to mark off the sphere uf such Ijooki. 'Ilie 
word as found in the dicti'mary rupreHcntn oiiti aNirettt 
of the truth ; as found in actual nne, riiKFt^lier. Tlie 
concept that the word reprefients may Iw regardod 
from two totally different points of view. We have 
the logical and the psychological concept. The word 
era6, as I use it is ordinary conversation^ represeirts 
a psycholc^cal concept: oa fonod in the (\ictitm»ry 
under the letter C, it stands for a logical co»icept. 

Are then, then, two difTererrt coT»ccpt» corrsspfrnding 
to the word ert^t Certainly not ; there »re not two 
diU B wnt tomtefta, hat » million, a score of rmlTions. 
amwaoMjtemapta, indeed, as there are eoneervrng minds. 
Wbat, tben, beeoaea of the 4kiumairy in whii°h oivly 
s are gj'vew, «, in aggrarT'ated cases, 
e? The tvpiy is ehart white th«re an-e 
> «i pqNAa&Mgi«all cona«p«» of mtif; there in nvAy 
f^eholii^fieaWy oonffldered, She 
\ crwicepC peculiar &> ttw persoB 




□sing it. This concept must be more or leas like the 
concepts of crab formed in other minds, and is probably 
very like the concepts to be found in the minds of 
those with whom tlie person in question comes most in 
contact. On the other hand, the concepts may vary 
enormously, if we take the eases of minds whose apper- 
ception masses have little in common. A Worcester- 
shire peasant, a Yarmouth fisherman, a London police- 
man, a West-end gourmet, a meml)er of the Fishery 
Board, an evolutionist philosopher, and a primary school 
boy have all concepts of crab ; but could all those con- 
cepts be actualized, the results would be startlingly un- 
like. The very crabs would not acknowledge each other. 
How, then, are we to know what a crab is, how decide 
which of those queer concepts is legitimately entitled 
to the name it claims ? Is there a standard erab ? 

Tliere is a general impression that there is a standard, 
but where to find this standard is a question that 
annoys even philosophers. This is no end- of -the- cen- 
tury, up-to-date problem. It has worried philosophers 
as far back as Plato at least. His answer, while in 
many respects beyond reproach, lacks that element of 
practical applicability that modern solutions must have. 
He may be right when he says that the perfect pattern 
of the crab is laid up in heaven ; ^ but pending fuller 
investigations there, we find it easier to fall back upon 
the dictionary. The pattern we there find may not be 
perfect ; but it is usually clear, definite, and open to 

> Cf. Beptib., X. 697. Plato's illuatratmn ia n bed, but this does 
affect the argument. 


You remember how Cuvier treated the puzzled dic- 
tionary makers when they brought for hia criticism 
their meaning of crab, — "A red fish tliat walks back- 
wards." Like the courteous gentleman he was, he 
told them tliat theirs was an excellent definition, only 
the crab " was not red, was not a fish, and did not walk 

Why was the laugh on Cuvier's side? What was 
the standard by which he so ruthlessly demolished the 
suggested definition? No one seems to question his 
right to apeak with crushing authority on such a sub- 
ject, yet, it may be asked, had the dictionary men noth- 
ing to say for themselves ? Suppose Cuvier had given 
hia brachyurouB, decapod, podophthalmatous Crustacean, 
and the dictionary men had adhered to their red fish 
that walks haekwardg, who is to decide between them ? 
Were a world-wide poll to be taken on the sub- 
ject, which of the two definitions would enlist more 
sympathy ? 

The fact of the matter is that all such definitions are, 
to some extent at least, arbitrary. There is no special 
reason why an insect should have just six legs, as the 
definition inaists upon its having j yet if I can brhig 
forward a ringed animal with a body divided into three 
distinct parts, with antenme, wings, traehece, and all 
the rest of it, down to the part that demands three pairs ■ 
of legs springing from the thorax, and at tliis point J 
fail to satisfy the requirements, ray otherwise satisfac- 
tory animal will be firmly refused a place among the 
insects. The taxonomist can never go wrong, for the 
patent reason that he is by hypothesis always right. 


If he decrees that ail insects have six legs, and an 
insect cornea along with eight legs, he very properly 
rules it out of court with the unanswerable argument ; 
" All insects have only six legs. This pretender has 
eight legs. Therefore this pretender is not an insect." 

If we ask what authority the definer . has for hia 
major premise, he need only reply that this is the hy- 
pothesis on which he works, and no more can be said. 
Cuvier's friends might have adopted the same plan and 
adhered to their red fish that walks backwards, and if 
they could produce any animal that fulfilled the terms 
of their definition, no objection could be taken to it. 
But when it ia applied to an animal that can be brought 
into evidence, the definition falls to the ground on 
being contradicted by facts. Yet even here the dic- 
tionary makers may attempt a last defence. Something 
ia wrong, they are prepared to admit ; but which is in 
fault, the crab or the definition ? In actual practice it 
ia the animal that is always put upon its defence, the 
definition taking the place of judge. But the defini- 
tion, in ita turn, ia supposed to have owed its birth to 
the comparison of a great series of crabs and similar 
crustaceans. Before the definition waa made, every 
crab examined had a voice in the determination ; once 
the definition haa been made, each new crab must ful- 
fil the conditiona or forfeit ita name. But while the 
original definition-forming craba influenced the deci- 
sion, it was only passively ; the definition was actually 
made by the thinking mind. God made the crab of the 
sea-ahore ; man made the crab of the dictionary. 

Generally speaking, the craba of the sea-shore are 


good-natured enough to agree very closely with the 
dictionary crabs (though there is far more individu- 
ality within the carapace of a erab than any one who 
has not dissected a few would imagine); but there are 
many other words in the dictionary that cannot be put 
to the test of external comparison, and which are there- 
fore regarded as absolutely fixed, while there is the 
greatest possible elasticity in their meaning as actually 
applied. Words, as found in actual use, may he divided 
into two great psychological classes, as transitive and 
substantive. The latter we can pause upon and con- 
sider J the former are always upon the wing. The dis- 
tinction does not correspond to the parts of speech, and 
has little to do with grammar.' Every one knows that 
in a sentence there are natural pausing places, not for 
the voice merely, but for the thought. The subtle 
power of empliasis gives force to this distinction, and 
indicates possibilities of meaning that no dictionary can 
ever hope to convey. The words of the dictionary are 
indeed symbols of thought, but of thought reduced to 
its least common denominator, so as to be more easily 
compared with other thouglits. 

The dictionary meaning may be compared to the 
skeleton of tlie full meaning : something fixed and 
definite, to which each person who uses it adds his own 
special flesh and blood. At the end of each dictionary , 

' Being s. purely psych ological distinction, this aspect of the mean- 
ing of words cannot appear in a dictionary. A given word may in one 
sentence represent the transitive part of thoaglit, in another the sub- 
stantive. Cf. some extremely interesting observations on the subject 
in W. James, Princtplea of Psychology, Vol. I. 243 ff. 

186 THE hbebaktian psychology 

definition may be added tlie words "At least." A man 
is a rational animal, at least. An island is at least a 
piece of land wholly surrounded hy water. The diction- 
ary maker hopes, by thus limiting his meanings, to 
establish uniformity. But such an absolute agreement 
as the dictionary hopes to establish is impossible. All 
men agree that man is a rational animal, but immedi- 
ately ariaes the question what is rational, and what is 
animal. These words convey a different meaning to 
every one who uses them. The very words, therefore, 
that seek to bring A's idea of a man into strict conform- 
ity with B'h are in themselves instrumenta to differ- 
entiate the two meanings. 

Science has been defined as nothing but a well-made 
language. May we not, without putting an imdue 
strain upon the words, say that education consists in 
the making of dictionaries ? For each of us makes his 
own little dictionary, wliich agrees more or less with 
those of others. Pupils in the same school and belong- 
ing to the same class of society naturally have dictiona- 
ries that correspond pretty closely to each other. The 
farther people are removed from each other in the 
circumstances of their life, the greater the difference 
between their internal dictionaries. To such an extent 
does this go that people speaking the same language, 
and using the same words and constructions, may be 
at a loss to understand each other. Mark Twain gives 
an excellent example of this in the interview between 
a rough miner and a clergyman whom the miner wishes 
to conduct the funeral service of a fellow-miner. 
" Are you the duck that runs tlie gospel mill next 


door ? " begins the miner. This is clearly English — 
the words are all Saxon, and the construction is per- 
fectly straightforward. Yet the clergyman can make 
no sense out of it. When the clergyman replies, it is 
the miner's turn to shake his head. The religious dic- 
tionary is as hard for the miner as the mining one is 
for the minister. Slang and dialect are only exagger- 
ated forms of this universal system of private dic- 
tionaries. Every household has its own list of special 

In the case of households and communities it can be 
demonstrated that words are used in special senses. 
In the case of the individual there can be no proof 
either way by direct demonstration, but the wise teacher 
will not be hard to convince, though he may be slow to 
apply his conviction. The standard dictionary, then, 
must be treated as the terminus ad quern, not as the 
starting-point in education. The pupil must first learn 
to use his own private internal dictionary, and then 
learn to compare and correct it with the standard dic- 

The well-known headmaster of one of the most im- 
portant Bchoola in London, speaking of the training of 
teachers one day, made the startling remark : " All that 
a teacher requires is a knowledge of his subject, and a. 
sense of humour." 

Every epigram has enough truth in it to justify its 
apparent impertinence. The truth here lies in the 
second requirement. We are not so easily satisfied as 
this headmaster; we want more than a knowledge of 
the subject and a sense of humour. But we cannot 
rest satisfied till those two conditions are fulfilled. 
The epigram owes its point to its insistence upon a 
very unusual requirement. For of all men in the world 
a schoolmaster is the last to whom popular opinion will 
concede any degree of genuine humour. It takes the 
sublime charity of Wordsworth to describe an old 
schoolmaster as 

" The gray-haired man of glee." ' 

Even Goldsmith, the genial, cannot help rhyming : 

" Full oft they laughed wit!» counterfeited glee 
At all his jokes, for many a joke had he," 

' Potmg of Sentiment and B^ection ; " The Fountain." 



and an appreciative world hails the picture aa true to 
life. The philomath of Sweet Auburn stands con- 
demned at the bar of public opinion, and it is only 
schoolmasters who care to ask why the glee was coun- 
terfeited. Were the jokes poor in themselves, or were 
they too old to command genuine glee ? Probably 
both ; for " many a " is strangely suggestive of a fairly 
large, but distinctly definite, number, while the " had 
he," implying possession, hints at a cistern rather than 
a fountain. 

The question of quality is readily settled by a refer- 
ence to Lamb, who has given an authoritative decision, 
telling us in cold blood : " The jests of a schoolmaster 
are coarse or thin. They do not tell out of school." ^ 

To the charge of age we may find it convenient to 
plead guilty. Most of us have our "Grouse in the 
Gun-Roora." But Lamb's criticism demands different 
treatment. To begin with, I^amb, while an unimpeach- 
able authority on joking, is a distinctly biassed judge. 
Looking all through the range of literature, I do not 
think I can find a man who has less sympathy with the 
pedagogic spirit. 

Why should a schoolmaster's jokes be coarser or 
thinner than those of other men? As we are plead- 
ing our cause only to ourselves, we may as well be 
honest and admit that our jokes are not commonly 
of the best, and do sometimea, under special provoca- 
tion, become a little coarse, from an artistic — not a 
moral — point of view. The cause of all this lies on 
the surface. We have an audience ready made, who 

1 The Old SchoolmaHer and the J/ew. 


must listen, and who generally feel it their duty to 
laugh. It is, indeed, more than their duty ; it is their 
interest and pleasure. It is better to laugh at a bad 
joke than to cry over a good multiplication table. So 
long ii8 the master is making jokes, he is not doing any- 
thing else, and there are so many disagreeable things 
he might be doing. It is well to counterfeit glee. 

Thus do a schoolmaster's jokes become tliin. Any- 
thing will do, the glee comes all the same. Why they 
should become coarse opens up other and more dis- 
agreeable aspects of the question. Just as the glee 
is always present, so is honest criticism always absent. 
When the in aster opens iip his mind, and tells John 
what he thinks of him, John finds it convenient to 
reserve kh opinion for open-air use. This style of 
pedagogic wit is obsolescent, if not obsolete. If any 
schoolmaster recognizes his face in the mirror we have 
here held up to ill-nature, let him take a thought 
and mend his jokes. The thin ones are better than 

All this forms, doubtless, an explanation to Elia why 
schoolmasters' jokes do not tell out of school. But 
there is more than this in it. Answer, all ye who have 
suffered under the hoiiry joke repeated to the Mth time 
by wealthy uncle or prospective father-in-law, has this 
thintj never happened to you? Have you never, in 
desperate straits to entertain an unresponsive guest, or 
under sore pressure of rivalry at another man's table, 
fallen back upon one of those venerable jokes, and 
produced it with all the studied abandon of a body- 
snatcher, only to be bewildered and charmed to find 

it go off brilliantly ? Obviously, family jokes do tell 
out of their original circle. 

The real explanation of the truth Lamb has hit upon 
is very simple. Schoolmasters' jokes do not tell out 
of school because they are school jokes. Jokes only 
tell whei'e they meet with suitable apperception masses. 
Puneh has a picture of two young gentlemen, and the 
young lady for whose affections they are rivals. " Do 
you like Botticelli?" she asks A, who innocently re- 
plies, "N-no, I think I prefer Chianti." Thereupon, 
rival B whispers with malicious triumph into A's ear : 
"Now you've done it. Botticelli isn't a wine, you 
idiot, it'i a cheese." One can picture stratum after 
stratum of human society where this joke would not 
tell, though all critics of jokes (who are not too ad- 
vanced to laugh at anything in PuneK) will admit that 
it is neither coarse nor thin. With equal justice Elia 
might have said here, " Artists' jokes do not tell out of 
the studio." 

This ia a gentle chapter and makes for peace. Accord- 
ingly, there is no attempt made to define a joke. It is 
surely vague enough to avoid controversy to say that 
all jokes imply a taking of the whole for the part or 
the part for the whole, the joker knowing all the while 
the true relation of whole to part. To give point to the 
description (the very word definition is rejected as strife- 
producing), we might almost write the words Ax. 9 
after each joke, as we used to do in our problems in 
Euclid, where Axiom 9 reads " the whole is greater than 
its part." For on this law, and its breaches, hang all 
the jokes in school and out. 


The whole to which all the parts of our experience 
must be referred for their true explanation is the self- 
consciousness of the individual. The permanent con- 
tent of John's soul, we have seen, is made up of a great 
series of ideas which are grouped into masses which 
intersect and cross and oppose each other in a some- 
what bewildering way. But those masses do not react 
upon each other in any haphazard fashion. As ideas 
form alliances among themselves resulting in larger or 
smaller apperception masses, so do those masses com- 
bine to form systems. It follows that in a well-organ- 
ized soul all the ideas fall into definite relations ot 
subordination and superiority, so as to form a regular 
hierarchy of ideas, masses, and systems. 

A man's ideas naturally fall into systems, each gath- 
ering around some common centre, in relation to which 
each idea falls into its appropriate place. Such centres 
are a man's home, his club, his church, his business, his 
political party. Each such system is to a certain extent 
an independent organism, in which all the component 
parts fall into natural and reasonable relations with 
each other. At any moment in our conscious life we 
must regard all our ideas as forming a rational system; 
but certain systems become in a sense permanent in 
certain connections, from the frequency with which 
they occur, and from the vividness resulting from cer- 
tain external stimuli. The moment a man enters his 
office, all his surroundings react upon his ideas in the 
same way as they have done for the past score of years, 
with the result that all his ideas fall into a definite 
relation to each other, so as to make up what we may 


call his office system. At home quite a new set of 
ideas are called into prominence, and in church still 
another, the permanent relation of the ideas to each 
other being determined, as before, by the reaction of 
the external envu-onment. Certain ideas belong to only 
one system, and can therefore cause no confusion. 
The idea of a chasubU has no standing outside of the 
church system, nor the idea of Cydippe outside of the 
biological system. On the other hand, the great 
majority of ideas belong to several of the systems ; 
indeed, if this were not so, our identity would be lost 
among our many systems. I know that the / of my 
church system is the same as the /of my home system, 
because I find a certain number of ideas common to 

Certain systems may have remarkably little in com- 
mon. The system that centres round an entomologist's 
work-table has almost nothing in common with the 
system gathered round his political creed. Sometimes 
there is so little in common between two systems that 
we give ourselves up to banal reflections, and ask, 
" Can I, sunburnt and tweed-knickerbockered, lying 
on my back on the grass, he the same I that, pale-faced 
and cap-and-gowned, lately went with more or less 
regularity to eight-o'clock lecture ? " Yet there must 
be enough in common to make up the ultimate system 
which goes to form the inseparable environment of the 
ego. In the last resort the ego must be present in all 
systems, just as the president of a society is ex officio a 
member of all committees. 

But tfie ego is not an isolated idea ; it is the meeting- 


point of all the apperception masses. In a certain 

sense it may be said to have no mass of its own, eiace 
it ia the common property of all the masses. But the 
mere fact of this presence in all the masses and systems 
gives it a character gut generis ; besides, the ego is so 
closely connected with certain of the more permanent 
ideas in the various systems, that it can hardly free 
itself from them, hut drags them into all systems. 
There thus comes to be practically an ecfo mass,' which 
is common to all systems, and which, according to its 
influence, determines what is known as the character 
of the soul in question. 

In a certain sense, John is as many boys as he has 
systems. Or, if you prefer it, he has as many systems 
as he is boys,^ The most superficial observer knows 
that John is a different boy in school and in the play- 
ground, at home and at church. Yet he is a fairly 
consistent boy iu each system. The human soul is so 
constituted that it cannot take in ideas huddled to- 
gether in any way. Its healthy existence depends 
upon its arranging them into a reasonable whole, in 
winch they maintain hxed relations to each other. 
Since the ideas presented in school usually maintain a 
fairly well-established order among themselves, while 
such of those ideas as are common to school and play- 
ground naturally hold a different rank in each case, it 

' Cf. Maudsley, Bodg and Will, p. 80 : " The ego is not a. constant, 
but B variable," And Paulhan, L'Actlviti Mentale, p. 211 ; "Le moi 
eat une co- ordination." 

1 '■ L'lioninie bo compose, pour eitai dlro, de plusieurs moi, qui ont 
nn fonda oommiiu eC He conf ondent jusqu'^ un certain point, mala uon 
paacomplfiteuiBnt," — Pauliun, L^Aaivlli Mentale, p, aOO. 


is to be expected that the soul should have a certaia 

school place for a given idea, and quite a different 
place for it in the playground system. In school, for 
example, apperceptiou masses are formed dealing with 
grammatical points that never enter into the system 
that holds in the playground. In the ordinary element- 
ary school the school system is very sharply marked 
off from the home system, each having actually a lan- 
guage of its own. John at school is clean and tidy, 
speaks respectfully to his teachers and quietly to his 
neighbours, and at least endeavours to keep the peace 
among his nouns and verbs. At home he talks loudly 
and roughly, and lets his parts of speech fight it out 
among themselves. A discord that would put him to 
the blush in his class is not so much as noticed in the 
privacy of the home circle. Indeed, the accuracy of the 
school is as mucli a solecism at hom'e as the familiar 
speech of the fireside is at school. If the master would 
hold up his hands at the expression "it's me," the 
father would be no less disgusted with the priggish 
school form "it is I." 

The difference between the school system and the 
playground system cannot be better illustrated than by 
the not unfrequent occasions on which John is invited 
to show up the contents of his pockets. With flushed 
face and downcast eyes he produces object after object 
of which in the playgronnd he is justly proud, but 
which, under the cold glare of the master's eye, seem 
to develop qualities for which even John feels called 
upon to blush. The horsehair that in the ])Uyground 
is warranted to split the stoutest cane the master's 




money can buy, under that master's frown becomes a 
contemptible trifle to be explained and apologized for. 

No sooner is the playground reached, after this de- 
plorable interview, than all is changed ; a new system 
becomes dominant. Persons as well as things take 
new rank. The dux boy in school often plays a very 
subordinate part outside. The master himself falls to 
a pitiable level in the new system, being only proxime 
accetsit to the gamekeepei', a bad second to tlie drum- 
mer in the volunteer band, and not to be mentioned 
in the same breath with the lion-tamer at the penny 

At home John enters still another world, where 
things have to be all rearranged. The John of the 
home may be fairly regarded aa the standard John. 
He is more natural there ; much of the pretence that 
he puts on for ' outside use is here dropped as un- 
necessary and unworkable. To be sure, there are 
certain airs (increasing directly as the number of his 
sisters, and inversely as the number of his brothers) 
special to home, by which Jolm seeks to make up for 
the loss of the grander make-believe of t)ie outside 
world ; but these are insignificant by comparison. 

At church, at Sunday-school, in the country during 
vacation, John enters a new world, where new ideas 
find a place, and old ideas find a new place and a new 
meaning. For each world has a tone of its own, and 
the same idea varies with the world in which it finds 
itself. In school the idea of pigeon has to hobnob 
with disagreeable ideas of object lessons and the num- 
ber of vertebrae in birds. In Sunday-school it takes up 



with Noah's Ark ; at home it may deal with the delights 
of the backyard dove-cote or the charms of a certain 
class of pie ; in the country it may form the centre of a 
system of snares. 

In actual life the common man — our friend in the 
street — keeps all his systems separate. It is not to 
point a moral, but to illustrate our position by a 
generally admitted case, that we refer to the very 
common practice among men of keeping their religious 
and their secular systems apart. " Six days shalt thou 
labour and do all thy work, but — " quotes the adult 
John, and feels that he has by this antithesis justified 
his separation of the two worlds. If driven into a 
corner, he settles the matter with his ultimatum : Busi- 
nesB is business, which is manifestly only an explicit 
statement that the system of business ideas must stand 
apart from all other systems. The flinty banker of 
the city is the indulgent father of the suburban villa, 
Shylock had his Jessica system as well as his Antonio 

To some extent this is as it should be for practical 
purposes. A man's power of effective work would he 
greatly diminished were he to mix bis systems. In 
one sense it is right to remember that business is busi- 
ness. It is as unwise to mingle the religious system, as 
suck, with the business system, as to mingle the business 
system with the pleasure system. Each system must 
be kept apart, but they must he all correlated in the 
higher unity of the ego that makes them. We must 
have the same ego in different systems, not a different 
ego in each system. When we have the systems entirely 

Tent J 

irely J 


separate, the ego is the servant, the system the master ; 
the system makes the ego. In a true organiani this is 
reversed. The ego remams unchanged, is true to itself 
in all the different systems, and thus preserves an es- 
sential harmony between apparently conflicting systems. 
During business hours the ego attends strictly to busi- 
ness ; but if a question of morality arises, the ego does 
not take its decision from the system in which it finds 
itself for the moment. Being itself a part of the sys- 
tem, it can to a certain extent modify that system. The 
ego brings its own morality. 

Our main concern at present is not morality. What 
is true of the moral element is true of all the elements 
which enter largely into systems of ideas, and which 
must therefore share in regulating those systems. The 
really well-organized soul is not content with having 
systems; it must also understand them. Each system, 
while itself an organism including and explaining 
smaller organisms, must itself he included under and 
explained by a still wider system. This ultimate system 
for each individual consists of ideas inseimrable from 
the ego itself, and which must therefore form part of all 
the subordinate systems. 

Wfiile few have this unifying system in anything 
like good working order, most people liave sufficient 
command over their syatema to know at once when an 
idea gets into the wrong system. Every such mis- 
placed idea produces a peculiar reaction on the mind, a 
sort of shock which is not unpleasant, and is the psy- 
chological basis of a joke. An idea in its own mass 
and system produces no shock, calls for uo remark, 




rouses no desire to laugh. A lamb in a field is an 
innocent and pretty object at which we look with 
pleasure, and pass on ; it is exactly what we expect to 
find there. Yet we have the most unimpeachable 
authority for believing that under certain circumstances 
the lamb becomes very funny. lu one of our school 
s we are told that 

The laugh does not depend upon the lamb ; any idea ■ 
not legitimately connected with school work will pro- 
duce as much fun as Mary's pet. An organ-grinder in 
the school-room, or even a postman, will do as well, 
A policeman at the master's desk would be intensely 
fiinny, were it not for the tragic consequeuces that 
usually attend the transference of the idea of a police- 
man from the street system to the school system. For 
here we have stumbled upon the Aristotelian limitation 
in the definition of the ridiculous, "What is out of 
time and place, without danger." 

For " without danger " it may he well to read " with- 
out an excessive shock." The sudden appearance in 
my study of my aunt, whom I suppose to be in India, is 
not exactly dangerous, and yet, out of time and place 
as she undoubtedly is, I feel no desire to laugh. An 
idea may be thrust out of the playground system into 
the church system without producing any comical 
impression. The shock is too great. A vulgar idea 
brought into contact with some of the holiest ideas of 
our church system ia indeed incongruous, but the shock 


is unpleasant, rousing indignation rather than laughter. 
With this limitation, then, that incongruities must not 
produce too great a shock, or threaten serious conse- 
quences, it is true that the appearance of an idea in a 
system to which it is alien results in a joke, 

This is clearly seen in the more rudimentary form of 
Jokes popular with young children and barbarous adults. 
All forms of the practical joke consist in transporting 
bodily an object from one system of things to another 
in which its appearance leads to unusual couaequeneas. 
Closely allied to this is the humour of simple exaggera- 
tion, the humour of the hideous caricature kind that 
is so fascinating to children at a certain stage. The 
primordial form of verbal wit, the pitiful quibble known 
as a pun, is a very obvious case of dragging an idea out 
of its natural system and forcing it into an alien one. 

There is one class of school joke that does tell out of 
school. It has enlivened the pages of many a Blue 
Book, and has shed an occasional glimmer of humour 
over the prevailing gloom of St. Stephens itself. But 
" howlers," as this class are technically termed, are 
claimed to he not schoolmasters' jokes, but children's. 
Now no child who makes a howler means a joke. If 
he does, it ceases to be a howler, and becomes a piece 
of impertinence. The child makes the remark ; the 
teacher or the inspector makes the joke. In that moth- 
eaten favourite of the scrap columns of educational 
magazines, the tale of the child who began to distin- 
guish between a widow and a vnndow with the words : 
"You can see through a window, but — ," we find the 
child interrupted in the middle of a commonplace ex- 



planation. The joke is the teacher's own. The pupil 
who explained the phrase " funeral note " aa found in 
The Burial of Sir John Moore, as " the letter inviting 
somebody to the funeral," was stating what he believed 
to be a commonplace though no doubt a solemn fact, 
and must have been greatly shocked at the unexpected 
laughter of the inspector, who indeed, by all the rules 
of the game of etiquette, was the last man who should 
have laughed, seeing that the joke was his own. The 
child sees mitliing to laugh at in his plain statement ; 
if he does, he does not make it, for one does not jest 
with one's inspector. 

Here we seem to have strayed very far from the 
theory, not to say the practice, of education. Nothing 
seems farther removed from the work of an ordinary 
school than joke-making and joke -understanding. Yet 
when one comes to think of it, is not one of the main 
requirements in Standard V.^ the understanding of 
jokes ? In that fatal Standard the pupils must be 
able to reproduce in their own words a story which has 
been twice read to tliem. The inspectors are further 
required to select a story with a definite point in it. 
In actual practice this point comes to be a joke. The 
result is that a large part of the time of childi'en in this 
Standard is taken up in learning how to catch rapidly 
the point of a joke. 

The training is capital, and would be much better if 
it were not hamperod, as it is, by a mass of grammatical 
minutiEB of trifling importance. The exercise consists 
really in apperceiving a given presented content by 
1 See Scotch and English Codes, 


means of the appropriate apperception masses. The 
apperception mass called into play must include the 
whole, of wliich the matter presented shows only 
the part or parts. 

The story is told, for example, of some young men 
who wished to score off a supposed-to-be-stupid old 
grocer and provision dealer. They ask him the price 
of a yard of pork, and on the prompt reply " fifteen 
shillings," invite him to supply a yard. Insisting upon 
having money down before the transaction begins, he 
does a capital stroke of business by selling three pig's 
feet as a yard of pig. In apperceiving this tale, it is 
obvious that the apperceiver must find the word feet 
belonging to two quite different masses. Botli of 
those masses must be called into play before the point 
can be caught. In this ease the teacher has perfect 
confidence that there is a mass corresponding to the 
feet that make up yards, and another to the feet that 
make up pigs. Every Standard V. child has seen a pig 
or its pictore, and every Standard V. child is certified 
by the Education Department to have an apperception 
mass in which lineal feet are quite at home. The 
teacher is therefore certain that those two masses will 
compete for the dome, and that in the conflict the dis- 
parity of the two kinds of feet will be noted with the 
pleasant shock of surprise which characterizes this 
sudden recognition of contradiction where harmony 
is loudly proclaimed. 

The incongruity here, indeed, appears to be double. 
There are the lineal feet in the pig mass, and the pig 
feet in the lineal mass. Both incongruities no doubt 



exert an influence, but the prominent incongruity arises 
in the pig aystem, which, from its eoncrete setting, natu- 
rally holds the more important place in the childish 

In the " funeral note " case, only one apperception 
mass can be calculated upon at the start, and this 
marks off the " liowler " from the genuine joke. The 
child who sees a joke miist have the two masses at his 
command. It is true that he can be taught to under- 
stand his own joke, if we supply the lacking mass. The 
word funeral is dropped for a moment, and the atten- 
tion concentrated on "note." This idea is seen to fit 
into two different masses,— the letter mais and the musi- 
cal mats. Next, the word funeral is added, and it is seen 
that this makes no difference; for the idea oi funeral can 
be made comfortable in both masses. To begin with, 
the funeral idea is only connected with the paper note 
in the boy's mind. By calling up all the circumstances 
of the battle-field, it is made plain that letter- writing is 
not largely carried on in the midst of battle, while there 
is a kind of note that is often heard immediately before, 
and sometimes during a battle. So soon as John com- 
pares the two masses, lie has no difficulty in deciding in 
which the idea of note as music is more at home. He 
decides from knowledge. When he does perceive the 
foolishness of his first answer, he sees the joke enough 
to smile, hardly to laugh. His lack of enthusiasm must 
not be set down to imperfect knowledge now, nor even 
to wounded self-respect. It is simply that the process 
of explanation has taken away that shock of surprise 
which is essential to the true joke. Those who have 


heard a, Professor of Humanity lecture for half an hour 
on what is believed to be a Ciceronian pun, will un- 
derstand John's mirthless acquiescence in the musical 

Some jokes, however, do not admit of treatment in 
this way; the necessary second mass may be an impos- 
sibility at the stage at which the experiment is made. 
Punch's weary little arithmetician who wished she was 
a rabbit because she had heard her father say that 
they "multiplied so quickly," would require to wait 
for a year or two before she could laugh at her own 
joke. The widow-window joke is another case in point- 
There are many stages in the understanding of this joke. 
" He said widow for window" the youngsters will say 
with a laugh ; for the mere confusion of the two sounds 
is amusing to young children. By and by the meta- 
phorical meaning of "seeing through" a person may 
become clear enough to give a new point to the con- 
trast. The full force of the joke can never be appre- 
ciated by a boy. There is no apperception mass of widow 
in his soul at all equal to the demands of the joke, nor 
can there be, till long after he has ceased to be a boy. 

The power to understand a joke thus comes to be a 
criterion of intellectual progress. At the earliest stages, 
children both accept and make the most contradictory 
statements without at all seeing the humorous aspect of 
the propositions they place side by side. Whilst the 
apperception masses are still unorganised, each fact 
stands in its own system, where, being quite consistent 
with its surroundings, it arouses no comment. It is 
only when its position in another system is compared 



with its position in this that trouble can arise. The free 
and easy ways of royal personages in fairy tales seem 
perfectly satisfactory to children who have only one 
system in which to observe those exalted beings. No 
fault can be found with this nursery lopsidedness. It 
is inevitable. It is different at a later stage, where 
errors are allowed to remain through not comparing two 
systems actually within the permanent content of the 
soul. An exasperatingly familiar illustration of this 
is to be found in rule of thumb applications of arith- 
metic. John gets his problem " stated " as best he can, 
and loyally multiplies the second and third terms and 
divides by the first. But while the teacher is anxious 
to know how many yards it would require to make 
sixteen suits, John is perfectly content to reply 
X3272 : 10 : 6i|f A few woi-da are usually all that are 
necessary to turn this answer into something for John 
to laugh at. But apart from such external aid, he sees 
only the serious side of the matter. His figures seem 
all consistent with each other, and there is nothing 
intrinsically funny in a large sum of money like that. 
To John £3272 : 10 : 6^^ seems eminently in its 
place and time on his slate and during school hours. 
Besides, under a vigilant teacher, there is always an 
element of danger in having a wrong answer. 

The moment John can laugh at his answer, he under- 
stands at least what is wanted. That this power of 
appreciating jokes is a sort of gauge of intellectual 
readiness and general intelligence has never been mathe- 
matically demonstrated. Yet it has not remained quite 
a pious opinion. More or less consciously, inspectors 

I ' 

■ othe 


of 8CI100I3 employ this test in estimating that vague 
quantity known in their reports as "intelligence." 
Children who listen to a funny remark with the same 
respectful attention that they give to the dictation les- 
son on exammation day, can hardly claim a high degree 
of intelligence. 

The same principle may be, ahd is, applied to gauge 
the intelligence of an adult audience, and if due allow- 
ance be made for the kind of joke, as well aa for the 
rapidity with which it is apperceived, the principle is 
scientifically valid. For you have only to go low 
enough to find a joke that will fit the meanest intelli- 
gence. A highly organized mind often sees no joke in 
what seems intensely funny to a mind of less scope. 
Witness the unexpected laughter of children at inci- 
dents in wliieh we see nothing but the veriest common- 
place. The explanation is not far to seek. The 
narrower mind has apperceived a certain idea only in 
one system. Its appearance in another rouses the 
usual amusement that accompanies such an innovation. 
The wider mind, which liaa been accustomed to find the 
idea in both systems, receives no shock in finding it in 
either. The office boy who has never seen his master 
save in the regulation frock coat and silk hat, meets 
him by chance in the country, dressed in knickerbock- 
ers and a peaked cap and finds something desperately 
funny in what he sees. His master's family, accustomed 
to both styles, find no joke in the matter. 

Jokes must not be judged by their power to raise a 
laugh. There are jokes that insist upon our laughing ; 
others are content with a chuckle ; some are satisfied 


with a mere gleam of iutelligence. This last class in- 
cludes those cases in which an idea does not belong to 
a system in which it is found, but which might belong 
to that system. There is nothing incongruous between 
the idea and its new environment, except the fact that 
this is its first appearance there. 

The editor of a comic journal would draw the line 
at this last class, and would deny their right to be 
called jokes at all. Yet from the teacher's point of 
view they rank exactly on the same level as the more 
laughable sort. They owe tlieir point to the same 
mechanism, and are indeed of more common applica- 
tion in school than the others. Getting a child to 
see the point is precisely the same process, whether we 
wish him to laugh when he sees it, or merely to feel a 
thrill of intellectual pleasure- If it were worth the 
trouble, an unbroken line of ascent, or descent, conld 
be made out from the broadest jokes, through the 
euphuistic conceits, to the finest poetical iigures. All 
our most delicate poetical fancies are psychologically 
only refined forms of joking. When Burns compares 
our transient pleasures to poppies, to snowflakes, to 
the borealis, to the rainbow, he introduces the idea of 
pleasures into a mass in which it has not before ap- 
peared. It is not, however, out of time and place in 
those new masses ; rather the main beauty of the figure 
lies in its being based upon the fitness of the old idea 
in a new setting. The reader's mind receives a shock, 
a pleasant shock, at each new intrusion into a fresh 
mass ; but the point of resemblance is kept so clearly 
before the mind that no difliculty is felt in justifying 


the new environment, and a thrill of more or lesa in- 
tense satisfaction rewards the mind which has discov- 
ered this justification. 

But this satisfaction may be earned in quite a differ- 
ent way. Instead of being supplied with the primary 
idea, and enjoying the satisfaction of following the 
poetic fancy into each new mass, the mind may have 
the masses given, and be set to discover the idea which 
will connect those masses. What used to be so popu- 
lar in the old jest books under the name of riddles gives 
us an illustration. It seems a great fall from Burns to 
riddles, but from the teacher's point of view it is a 
stooping to conquer. Very frequently a teacher's ques- 
tions are riddles in the most accurate sense of the word. 
No doubt it sounds grander to talk of " a rider to 
Euclid" than of the riddles that charmed our pre- 
preparatory years, yet many of our grandest riders are 
merely rechristened riddles. In the riddle, you get 
the second part of the simile and have to discover the 
first part, or you get the metaphor and are required to 
discover the literal truth, 

" Out of the eater came forth meat, and out of the 
strong came forth sweetness," ran the riddle that Sam- 
son put to the thirty young Philistines. No doubt they 
carefully examined each of the apperception masses at 
their disposal, to find actual cases of meat coming forth 
from eaters, and sweetness coming from strong persons 
or things. Naturally they failed at first, since Samson 
had taken the precaution to tell no one, not even liis 
own parents, about the lion that the bees had turned 
into a hive. 


In the equally famous riddle : — 

" What goes on four feet, on two feet and three, 
Bat the more feet it goes on the weaker it be?" 

there is more hope for the guesser, as of course there 
ought to be in view of the higher stake. Taking a 
general look at the lines, we infer that an animal of 
Home kind ia meant ; for the mystery not only has feet 
ae a table or a stool may have, but it goes, and becomes 
weaker. To be sure, CEdipus would have been unwise 
to risk his life on such an assumption ; for in riddles the 
metaphor is allowed an altogether dangerous license. 
Still, following the line of least resistance, he would 
probably tui-u to the apperception masses that dealt 
with animals. Here, being an experienced reader of 
riddles, he would at once select the less common class 
of animals suggested. There are more quadrupeds 
than bipeds, more bipeds than tripeda. His hopes 
would, without doubt, rise when he came to tripeda ; for, 
in truth, the class does not exist. If the mystery be an 
animal at all, then, it ia in the triped part of the prob- 
lem that one must look for the metaphorical part that 
causes tlie trouble in all riddles. Now the kangaroo 
has a pretty trick, it appears, of sitting upon its tail and 
its two" hind legs, when fighting. Some idea of this 
kind might have set CEdipus on entirely false lines ; 
but, fortunately, he had not even heard of a kangaroo, 
and was limited in his metaphorical applications. From 
the swarm of ideas of animals that claimed admission 
into the dome of his consciousness, it would be strange 
if the most important animal of all were absent. So 


BOOH as the problem came to be, which animal can be 
most readily represented metaphorically as three-legged, 
it would at once occur to him that it is more natural to 
add one leg to a man, than to cut off one from a quad- 
ruped. The additional leg is easily supplied in the 
form of the staff of old age. The reference to the 
weakness of quadruped infancy, as compared with 
sturdy biped manhood, would at once suggest itself, 
and CEdipua would give out his answer with little fear 
of a audden termination of his days. 

In the poetical figure, you are supplied with the 
proper system or mass; all you have to do is to apply 
properly the materials given, the development comes 
from within. In the riddle you get the development, 
and are required to discover the appropriate system or 
mass. In reading a good poem we are apt to remark 
how true the comparisons are. As a matter of fact, 
many of the most appropriate comparisons would be 
quite unintelligible, were the key not supplied in the 
title of the poem. Many people object to Browning's 
poetry, and say they do not understand it. What they 
really want is an intimation, at the head of each poem, 
of the system or mass under which the poem is to be 
apperceived. Frequently one fails to appreciate a 
poem because one does not understand the tone in 
which it is written. We need hardly go to Dickens' 

" Upon the log 
Lay the expiriDg frog," 

or to Maacarille's 

"Au voleur, au voleur, au voleur, au voleur," 



for examples. We come across milder cases of the same 
tiling every day. 

The complaint is sometimes made that in poetry we 
do not want a problem ; we want beautiful thoughts in 
clear language. Now no one will accuse Wordsworth 
of being difHcult or obscure, yet even in his poetry a 
verse taken by itself, and without the aid of the title, 
resolves itself into a riddle. Take the verse : — 

" A little Cyclops, with one eye 
Staring to threaten and defy, 
That thought cornea next — and instantly 

The freak is over, 
The shape will vanish — and behold 
A silver shield with boss of gold, 
That spreads itself, some faery bold 
In fight to cover." 

Experiment has shown me that to a class of intelli- 
gent students who did not happen to know the lines 
before, this passage was an insoluble riddle. A clever 
Senior class in school naturally gave the same result. 
Explaining all the difficult words had no effect. Yet 
the mere hint that the subject was a flower, at once led to 
sixty-seven per cent of the class writing down correctly 
the word daisy. Among those who were still wrong, 
eight per cent scored an outer with sunflower, which, but 
for the " silver," fits the description as well as the daisy. 
The word flower gave the system. The rest follows 

The great importance of this preliminary knowledge 
of the system to be called into play has been frequently 
demonstrated by practical experiment among the psy- 


chophyaicists, the previous knowledge of the system to 
be called into play being shown to materially diminish 
the time required for nervous reaction. Von Kries, 
indeed, has a theory of connective cerebral arrange- 
ments by which the brain is assumed to switch the 
stream of thought in this direction or that. His illus- 
tration is the clef in Music determining the meaning 
of all the notes that follow it. An equally good iUua- 
tration might be the stop of an organ, which gives a 
new character to the whole liarmony so long as it is in 
action. When we take up a French book, for example, 
out conies the French stop, and the whole mental appa- 
ratus adopts the French style of vocabulary and con- 
struction. So long as this stop is out, we shall never 
mistake pour for a verb, or rnain for an adjective. It 
was because the English atop was out, that a clever 
schoolboy thought Jugurtba was a horse, because he 
had read about Jugurtha's manes. 

Nowhere does this connective cerebral arrangement 
for calling up appropriate systems receive a better prac- 
tical illustration than in the questions set by teachers 
to their pupils. Each such question ought, as one ot its 
essentia] qualities, to indicate the system to which it 
belongs. Yet there is no more common mistake in 
teaching than to ask a question out of a certain system 
in the teacher's mind, without in any way giving the 
pupil a clue as to which system it is. The teacher, for 
example, has out the dull stop of chronology, and asks : 
" When did Charles the First die? " Out of the highly 
coloured picture system that forms so large a part of 
the average child's soul, comes the unexpected reply : 



"On a raw and froaty winter morning." From the 

aystem of historical incidents the teacher aaka : " How 
did David the Second die?" With the grammatical 
atop full out, the cliild answers, innocent of guile, 
"Childless." With his mind full of the discussion on 
the purification of the Clyde, the teacher pute the prob- 
lem : " Bruce in his old age lived at Roueneath. While 
living there he may have fished in the river Clyde. 
Why could he not fish there now? " Pulling out to its 
full extent the ntop of common sense, the child replies : 
" Because he's dead." 

This class of blunder must not be confounded with 
the ordinary howler. There is, indeed, no blunder at 
all. Teacher and pupil are both right, the misunder- 
standing lies in the different backgrounds supplied in 
the two cases. When such a mistake occurs, the wise 
teacher will take the blame to himself. Had he, by a 
few words of explanation or warning, made sure that he 
and John were working in the same system, the mis- 
take could not have arisen. In the riddle method of 
teaching, the case is different. The quotation from 
Wordsworth may be used as a school exercise in two 
ways. Starting from what the children know about 
this little flower, the various comparisons in the text 
may be worked out to the profit and pleasure of the 
class. This is the usual way. 

But the riddle method may be adopted, and, as many 
are inclined to think, with much better results. Cer- 
tainly it demands more effort, more ingenuity ; and is 
more in keeping with the doctrine of finality in teach- 
ing. It is not a following, but a feeling of one's way, 



a seeking of an end, a finding of means. Obviously 
it is a ease of Holmes' reasoning backwards. Certain 
facts are given. These must be apperoeived, and 
arranged in such a way as to involve no contradic- 
tion. So soon as this has been accomplished, the riddle 
is solved. If the answer is not what the propounder 
expected, it proves, not tiiat the answer is false, but 
that the riddle is bad. If Wordsworth's description 
could apply equally well to something other than 
the daisy, the poem would, to that extent, lose the 
charm of truth. 

Whatever good can be derived from paraphrasing 
and translation is due to this system-seeking. Every 
paraphrase or translation worthy of the name is based 
upon a hypothesis as to the system of ideas involved. 
The word-by-wcird boy 19 hopeless. Exarainera are 
never tired of complaining that candidates do not take 
a passage as a whole and seek to draw from it some 
connected and rational meaning. This amounts to 
nothing else than a eom,jlaint that candidates do not, 
in their own slang, "make more shots" at the meaning. 
What the examiner really wants is more scientific and 
intelligent guesswork. With a stiff piece of Latin 
prose to translate into English, the candidate goes 
through three processes. First he reads it over, pick- 
ing out all the words or idioms that he knows. Each 
known word or phrase or reference is a centre round 
which ideas gather. The second step is to make some 
sort of hypoth(;si8 as to the genera! meaning of the 
whole passage — a description, a speech, an argument, 
or what-not. This hypothesis must be such as to fit 



into all tlie knowu words, and must fix the tone of the . 
whole. The third process consists in working back- 
wards from this hypothesis, and constraining each 
unknown word and idiom to take a meaning in con- 
formity with the hypothesis. In the case of prepara- 
tion by means of a dictionary, this third stage takes 
the form of verification, just as Holmes' proceedings 
after a case is once started are merely a hunt for verifi- 
cations. Naturally the greater the number of known 
words, the better the hypothesis, and the more cer- 
tain the "shots" at the unknown words, tUl at last 
a point is reached at which the circle of induction is 
practically complete, and the initial hypothesis coincides 
with the final result of analysis and verification. 


The Schoolmen made great case of the distinction 
between the primary quahties of an object, and the 
secondary qualities. We have seen in Chapter III. 
that man is generally admitted to be the measure of the 
secondary qualities, such as colour and taste, but not 
of the primary, which include such essential qualities 
as extension. With this agrees the prevaiUng iniptes- 
eion among teachers of the extreme efficacy of draw- 
ings as a means of illustration. The secondary quali- 
ties may be modified by their passage through our 
senses, but it is supposed that such a primary quality 
as extension cannot be in any way modified by the 
senses of the observer. 

In Chapter VI. we have seen cause to reject this 
view. Even a simple straight line may mean some- 
thing slightly different to each new observer, and the 
greater the number of liiies in a drawing, the greater 
the range within which its interpretation by different 
observers may vary. 

There is, no doubt, a sense in which a drawing does 
aid in establishing a common understanding between 
two observers. We may be quite unable to understand 
a certain drawing, or we may make quite a different 
interpretation of it from that intended by the draughts- 



man ; but when two persons are talking about the draw- 
ing that lies before them, there is at least something to 
go upon, there is a sort of least common denominator 
of thought, to which all the ideas of each party must 
be reduced before agreement can be expected. 

Many teachers make an occasional use of this method 
to test the accui'acy with which their pupils are taking 
in the information that is being supplied, and very fre- 
quently peculiar misunderstandings are thus brought 
to light. For example, a class of training-college 
students was aet to make a drawing of Robinson 
Crusoe's tent from the description given in the story. 
Two or three drew a Union Jack lying flat upon the 
roof of the tent, and when the accuracy of this particu- 
lar was called in question, they justified themselves by 
referring to the text in which we find the statement 
that the roof was loaded " with jlag» and large leaves 
of trees, like a thatch."^ It is obvious that there was 
here a double blunder, for on November 23, 1659, 
there were no Union Jacks of the pattern represented. 
Yet, apart from the drawing, neither blunder would 
have been suspected. 

Mr. Henry J. Barker tells of an inspector of schools 
who used to ask candidates to illustrate their answers 
by sketches, but who " obtained from time to time 
such ludicrous embodiments from the lads, that he 
decided to abandon liis new method, and to remain sat- 
isfied with verbal responses. Without troubling himself 
whether they were actual expressions of knowledge 
or not." As an inspector, he was right to give up 
' BobinsoH Crusoe., Chap. V. 



his plan. Had he been a teacher, he ought to have 
persevered. A specimen case of his method gives just 
that knowledge of the contents of John's mind that 
every good teacher should seek. 

" On one occasion, for instance, during the course of 
an examination in Geography, he requested a hoy to 
delineate on the blackhoard his conception of a 'vol- 
cano.' The pupil readily did so ; and produced a 
rough chalk- drawing, the chief features of wljich ap- 
peared to be a truncated cone, a rainbow of lava and 
fire, and a sort of extinguisher. 

" ' Yes,' said the inspector, ' that is fairly good. But 
that object on the riglit, my boy, — what is it ? ' 

" ' Oh,' answered the lad, looking fondly at the object 
indicated, ' that, sir, be the parish church of Pompeii I ' " ^ 

This mingling of the concrete with the abstract, the 
general with the particular, is a fruitful source of mis- 
understanding. A diagram should be a diagram, and 
not a picture. So soon as the picture element is intro- 

p. 82. 

' Our Bqj/s and Qirla at School (Arrowamitli's Bristol Library), 


duced, it carries with it a sort of side interest that 
interferes with the main point to be illustrated. Mr. 
W. H. Mallock, for example, wishing to illustrate ts- 
rious facts in social economics, uses picture-diagrams, — 
houses, men, suits of clothes, loaves, and so forth, — 
which certainly attract too much attention to them- 
selves as drawings, to their hurt as illustrations. In 
some cases, indeed, they convey an impression contrary 
to that intended. Tljus we have two men,' one very 
fat, and one very lean, the first to represent the income 
accruing from the cultivation of soil of the best qual- 
ity, the second to represent the other extreme. So far 
as I am personally concerned, the picture would em- 
phatically lead me to prefer the worse soil, for the poor 
fat fellow seems in a very bad way indeed. The best 
soil seems dear at the price of eueh an unwieldy body, 
and such a fatuoiis exjjression. Yet it does nut appear 
that this is quite the impression Mr. Mallock means to 
convey. A plain pair of columns of different heights 
would serve his purpose far better. 

Diagrams ought to be as abstract as possible, unless 
the picture itself forms a part of the idea intended to 
be conveyed. A newspaper does well, for instance, in 
pubhahing a shooting competition score, to reproduce a 
picture of the target opposite each marksman's name, 
with the actual hits represented on it ; since here the 
target is itself an integral part of the idea it illustrates. 

Into such bad odour has the unfortunate word ah- 
stract fallen in its educational connections, that it 
requires some courage to fight its battle. Teachers 
' Classes and Masses, p. 51. A. and C. Black, 1S96. 


are too apt to forget that the progresa of education is 
from concrete to abstract. Like everything else, ab- 
stractness is only an evil when out of its proper place. 
It must be the goal, not the beginning. Since the 
Orbis Ptctus, an unillustrated school-book is a thing to 
be apologized for. In books for very young children, 
WB print T-O-P in the text, and add a picture of the 
toy in the margin, so that word and thing may become 
indissolubly connected. Whenever the word top occurs 
thereafter, we hope that the picture will immediately 
spring up in the child's mind. At a later stage this 
pictorial association, so far from being a help, becomes 
a positive hindrance. We want the child to use the 
word as a symbol ; we do not wish each word to be 
hampered in its flight by the necessity of carrying 
about with it a. picture which demands to be brought 
to light every time the word is used. We want our 
words to be " winged," and a picture is a sad limitation 
to this Homeric freedom. 

There are other cases in which a picture hampers 
instead of aiding thought. Certain ideas are better left 
in words, inasmuch as they do not lend theniselvea to 
representation in terms of extension. Some of Blake's 
drawings belong to this class. The soul is not suited 
for pictorial representation. It is true that Fisher 
Unwin has published a set of four beautifully executed 
plates, with accompanying letterpress, which represent 
diagrammatically the qualities of various kinds of souls. 
It is impossible to say whether the book is a costly 
satire upon Mr. Galton, or the honest endeavour of 
some well-to-do amateur psychologist to set forth his 


peculiar fancies. For us the important thing is that, 
except as representing the individual impreasion of the 
author's mind with regard to souls, the drawings are 
absolutely worthless. 

In a little book published by the London Sunday- 
school Union, entitled The Blackboard in the Sunday- 
school, there are many illustrations that from their 
very nature must be regarded as failures. The follow- 
ing, for instance,' is a remarkable way of demonstrating 
the process of conversion. The blackboard is divided 
by a horizontal line into two parts. Above the line, 
on the left, is a graphic representation of the sun ; this, 
we are told, standa for the Sun of Righteousness. On 
the lower side of the board is an inverted man who 
appears to be walking upside down along the line and 
away from the aun. This represents the sinner going 
"into deeper darkness and further from God." The 
pose is justified by the apt quotation, "The way of 
the wicked he turneth upside down" (Ps. cxlvi.). The 
teacher asks, "How shall he be saved?" Prov. xxviii. 
18 gives the clue to the answer : " Whoso walketh 
uprightly shall be saved," The transaction is con- 
cluded by an application of Jer. xxxi. 18 : " Turn thou 
me, and I shall be turned." The second picture shows 
the sinner duly inverted, walking cheerily along the 
line towards the sun. 

Is any comment needed ? Is the process of conver- 
sion made any clearer, not to say more sacred, by seeing 
a chalk man turn a somersault? There are certain 
things that are better left undrawn. 
1 Page 63. 


Do the illustrations to works of imagination reallj 
help the reader to a better comprehension of the mean'- 
ing of the author? It depends entirely upon the class 
of literature. Gustave Dore, for example, has adopted 
a class of subjects for illustration that had much better 
have been left alone. Many of Ms pictures are such 
as to ruin the text he seeks to illustrate, in the eyes of 
all wlio have any sense of humour. Milton haa been 
often praised for his reticence in not fully describing 
Satan. Can we say as much for the illustrators of 
Tlie Pilgrim's Progress ? Besides, it is the rarest thing 
in literature to find a work that is really illustrated. 
The illustrator is merely a man who comes between the 
author and the reader, and imposes his meaning on the 
words of the book. In the Life of Dickens ^ by Forster, 
you will find a double slieet of Dombeys to illustrate 
the tale of Domhey and Son. The whole twenty-nine 
faces seem to the ordinary reader typical of the sort of 
man Dombey is represented to be ; but none of them 
pleased Dickens, who hankered after a certain gentle- 
man in the city, whom he was anxious for the artist to see, 
as being "the very Dombey." The only case in which 
a work of this class can be truly said to be illustrated 
is when the author and artist are one, as in Trilhy. 

In addition to this almost insuperable difficulty in 
representing the exact picture in the author's mind, 
there is the more common danger of purely illiterate 
misconception of the plain meaning. What could be 
clearer than 

1 Vol. II., p. 317, allows seventeen Dombeys — the remaining twelve 
appear on p. 318. 



"Some vill^e Haroi>den, that, with daiintleaa breaiit, 
The little tyrant of hia flelda willistootl"? 

Yet in an illustrated edition ' I find that the word little 
has misled the artist into representing the village 
Hamjiden as a boy who defends a little girl and a lamb 
from the attacks of two bigger ruffianly boys. 

Still, when information of a primary kind is to be 
given, there can be no doubt but that drawings are of 
the utmost service in the way of expressing the author's 
meaning. In MoHnson Crusoe there are several points 
in which a few lines by way of a diagram would save a 
great deal of writing, and prevent much confusion, both 
to writer and reader. I am convinced tliat De Foe used 
a more or less elaborate chart in the preparation of his 
story, but he occasionally used it carelessly. It is little to 
the credit of the various editors of this wonderful romance 
that so many errors should have remained unnoticed. 
The explanation is probably to be found in the fact that 
no map (so far as I have been able to discover) has been 
published of the Island of Despair. Had it been other- 
wise, it could not have failed to be noticed that in Chap- 
ter X. he uses the phi-ase " against the shore at the east" 
where the whole context, viewed in connection with a 
map, demands west. This whole passage is so confus- 
ing, when not illustrated by a map, that some editors 
have calmly omitted it altogether. Again, at the end 
of Chapter XXII., we are told that the savages " always 
landed on the east parts of the island," though we know 
from the whole story that their usual landing-place was 
the southwest corner of the island, and we are explicitly 
1 Sampson Low, Son & Co., 186B. 



told, at the beginning of Chapter XIV., that they never 
came to the "east part of the island." 

Further, about the middle of Chapter XXV., we are 
told that the white men wished to drive the savages 
into " the farther part of the island southwest, tliat if 
any more came on shore they might not find one 
another." Here southeast is evidently what De Foe 
meant, and southeast is actually used in the third para- 
graph following. 

As an illustration of a false impression conveyed by 
a verbal description, where a sketch map would have 
been absolutely unambiguous, take the following : 
Robinson, in giving an account of his sarvey of the 
island,^ tells us that he walked '"still due north, 
with a ridge of hills on the south and north side of 

This apparently means that there was a ridge of hills 
extending from east to west, and lying to the north of 
Crusoe's path, and a similar parallel ridge to the south. 
But the context lets us know that he was following the 
course of a stream, and it is highly improbable that the 
stream would cut its way through two hills that lay 
directly in its course. Hy and by the state of affairs 
becomes clear when we are told that he comes to a place 
where he finds " an opening wliere the country seemed 
to descend to the west." He speaks, too, of getting, at 
this point, a clear view to the west j all implying that 
up to that point he had had a north and south ridge 
running along the left of his course. After considering 
all this, it struck me that it would be an interesting 
1 Chap. VII. 


thing to find out how far Crusoe's Island was clearly 
apprehended by the readers of De Foe's narrative, par- 
ticularly as I thus saw my way to obtain a sort of 
tangible example of the method of reasoning by hy- 
pothesis referred to in last chapter. The editor of the 
Boy's Own Paper agreed to arrange for a competition, 
and offered five guineas in the way of prize-money. 
The following were the instructions issued to intending 
competitors : — 

" What is wanted is a map of Robinson Crusoe's Island, 
such as he might have showed to his friends after he came 
home. It should indicate the size and position of the 
island, and the position of all the important places, 
Buch as the creek, the castle, the arbour, the grotto, 
the spot where the footprint was found, where the 
shipwreck took place, where the savages used to land. 
The general nature of the surface of the island should 
also be indicated, — the hills, valleys, rocks, and currents. 
It goes without saying that we do not really know 
the shape of the island, — though a well-known island 
has been named Robinson Crusoe's, — so each competi- 
tor must choose a shape for himself, the only limit 
being that the shape chosen must suit all the events of 
the story. 

" As this is rather a new kind of competition, it may 
not be amiss to give some hints how to go about draw- 
ing the map. Get a copy of the story Robimon Cra»oe 
and read it over with a pencil in your hand. As 
often as you come across any remark bearing upon the 
position of the island, note carefully what is said, and 
make at the same time a pencil mark at the margin. 


In doing this you will be greatly helped by keeping 
clearly before your mind the questions you wish the 
book to answer. For example, you want to know 
whether the ialand was longer from east to west or from 
north to south ; what the greatest length of it was ; on 
which side Robinson was wrecked ; which aide was 
nearest the mainland. Some of those questions are not 
answered directly, but a little common sense, and the 
putting of two and two together, will answer them 
and many more. After you have read over the whole 
story, look up all the marked parts, and make up your 
mind as to the general bearing of all the facts ; then put 
your map on paper in the way you usually draw your 
maps. You may draw your map on any size and kind 
of paper you please, and either colour it or not as you 
think best. The one thing of importance is to make 
your map agree with the story. Above all, don't be 
afraid to send in your map once you have begun it. 
It may not look well, and may even have some mistakes 
in it, and yet be a capital map for all that." 

Over one hundred and fifty maps in all were sub- 
mitted. They came from all parts of the world, and 
represented all ages from nine to thirty-two. Girls 
as well as boys competed, and there was every trace of 
all sorts of social differences among the competitors. 

The first thing that strikes one in examining those 
maps is the unlikeness that exists among them. They 
are all carefully labelled Robinson Crusoe's Island, and yet 
no two of the one hundred and fifty are alike. In view 
of this deplorable difference of opinion, our thoughts 
may take one of two directions. On the one hand, we 



may ask contemptuously, what does it matter ? Robin- 
son Crusoe was not written to provide material for a 
map-drawiug competition. Very probably some of the 
worst maps are the work of boys who have the keenest 
interest in and appreciation of tlie story. With this 
criticism we must all have a good deal of sympathy. 
Every genuine lover of pure literature shudders when 
he sees a play of Shakespeare or a sonnet of Milton de- 
graded to be material for examinations. The other 
day in London a literary man, while wondering how 
he and his fellows could hope to have their works 
bought and read in open competition with Shakespeare, 
Milton, and Scott, drew comfort from the fact that the 
examiner is on the side of the new men. So long as 
the great ones of our literature are prescribed in school 
and examined upon, so long will our new men have a 

There is more than after-dinner logic in this argu- 
ment, and if Rohimon Orusoe were pure literature, the 
what-does -it-matter criticism would certainly apply to 
those maps. But Robinson Crusoe is not pure literature. 
Its unique attraction for boys, and its extraordinary 
charm for all, have little to do with its literary merit 
or style. Its fascination lies in the situation, and the 
wonderfully accurate, detailed, and — to use a bit of 
the slang of the new reviewer — "convincing" work- 
ing out. My readers are aware that De Foe is credited 
with over two hundred and fifty works. Is it to be 
supposed that he confined all the charm of his style to 
one book out of this enormous total V Vet how many 
of the others live ? How many of us know even three 


of them by name ? How many liave read even one 
other than Robinson ? Then take Robinson itself. The 
second part is notoriously inferior to the first, and this 
surely will not be set down to style. As for the third 
part, its very existence comes with a shock of surprise 
upon the great majority of Crusoe's admirers. 

Robinson Crusoe stands at one pole ; a fairy tale at 
the other. Between those two poles extends a regular 
series of more or less practical stories. Take up a 
fairy tale, — let it he in Perrault's dainty pages, ^ and 
your interest is of a very different kind from that aroused 
by De Foe's story. Here you are interested in every 
delicate turn of expression, every shade of character, 
every whimsical incident. Tlie play is everything ; the 
setting is nothing. Time and space are anniMlated, 
It wag " once upon a time " that the prince was bom ; it 
was in " a certain city " that the princess lived. To 
ask for a tracing of the route followed by Hop-o'-my- 
thumb through the forest is no less ludicrous than to 
ask for a plan and elevation (with a transverse section) 
of Cinderella's slipper. But in the Island of Despair 
all this is changed. We find ourselves in the very 
heart of stubborn fact. The island has latitude and 
longitude, tides and currents, accurately marked-out 
distances. It has its history as carefully looked to as 
its position. Had you landed a little to the west of 
south, you would have found a " large post "' on which 
were cut " in capital letters " the words " I came on 
shore here on the 30th of September 1659." 

We are therefore not entitled to belittle plans, 
sketches, maps, as elucidating De Foe's meaning. As 


a matter of fact, it has to be remembered tbat interest 
is of different kinds as well as of different degrees. 
The old butler, Gabriel Betteredge, iu Wilkie Collins' 
novel, The Moonstone, found his main interest in the 
jwtm-philosophical religious reflections that De Foe 
found it expedient to insert into his tale in order to 
conciliate the Puritans. Some boys revel in the fighting 
with the savages, others in the coasting voyages ; but 
most readers are charmed by the ingenuity displayed 
in the adaptation of means to ends. Ethics, Meta- 
physics, Education, Theology herself, have shown their 
interest in the Island of Despair, by quoting Robinton 
as illustrating some of their principles. But boys are 
interested in a real island and a real man, and the 
points in which they are interested can be made plainer 
by the use of a map. While admitting that this point 
of view is at least as important as that of the purely 
literary critic, we must be careful not to carry our 
claims too far. There are things of consequence, and 
things absolutely indifferent to the reader. For exam- 
ple, neither the text of the story nor any illustration 
of it that I have chanced upon makes it clear whether 
the footprint on the sand was a right foot impression 
or a left. It is true that every picture of the foot- 
print must represent one or other ; but different artists 
are so inconsistent, even with themselves, that the 
truth remains to me a perfect mystery. But obviously 
this ignorance can be of no importance whatever. 
Nothing in the tale is affected by it. The place of the 
footprint on the map, however, is a very different 
matter. If we are to understand the impression the . 


sight produced upon poor Robinson, we must consider 
that it was found in a part of the island that he had up 
till that moment regarded as entirely free from intru- 
sion by the savages. One finds considerable difference 
of opinion among the map-drawers on this point. The 
footprint wanders pretty much all over the island. 
But those who have not placed it Between the bower 
and the boat have obviously misplaced it. One or two, 
with an excess of exactness, have fallen into another 
blunder. They have carefully indicated the high and 
the low water mark, and have placed the footprint 
exactly between them. As a matter of fact, the foot- 
print must have been made somewhere above high- 
water mark ; for the impression remained several days 
after Robinson had first observed it, which would not 
have been the caae had it been aubjected to the influ- 
ence of the waves.^ 

The maps, indeed, furnish an excellent example of 
that thinking in block which is much more character- 
istic of immature intelligence than teachers in par- 
ticular are apt to believe. My own axperience is 
borne out by that of others who have had greater 
opportunities of observing the peculiar phenomenon 
that I wish to speak of. Boys of the half-time stamp 
who are forced to learn reading, in at least a mechani- 
cal way, before they are set free for the more congenial 
work of the factory, very readily forget the art they 
have acquired. But the power of reading does not 
altogether die. Boys of this class who afterwards 

• A curious misconoeption is betrayed in several cases by natning 
the mark on the map Fri<lai/''!i fiivlprint. 



find it of interest to discover which aide has won this 
or that cup, can usually make out the general sense 
of a passage which they could not read in detail, though 
their lives depended on the success of their attempt. 
What is clearly demonstrable among those wholly 
unlettered young men prevails to some extent among 
people of a much higher intellectual range. Our first 
perusal of a stiff philosophical treatise leaves us with 
a general impression of what the author is driving at, 
but it takes many readings before we can follow his 
meaning in detail. So in learning a new language we 
sometimes read a story, as we say, for the sake of the 
story. In such a case we miss point after point in the 
narrative from not knowing this word or that, yet we 
carry away a general idea of the plot and the leading 
incidents of the story. This is what happens to those 
who read Robinton Crusoe without the aid of a map. 

To those who still maintain that they would rather 
read the book comfortably in this incomplete way than 
understand it more fully and become prigs in the 
process, it may be comforting to know that recent 
writers on Animal Psychology are convinced that the 
essential difference between the thoughts of a man 
and a brute is that the brute thinks in pictures, while 
the man analyzes the pictures into their elements.^ 

This creation of an island that never existed is 
particularly useful in illustrating the creation of our 
ideas in general of the outer world. Millions of people 
have an idea of Broadway, yet no two of those ideas are 

I Ct. Lloyd MorgaD, OomparaXive Fgychology, Chaps. XIT. and 



exactly alike. Still they are all like Broadway, and 
if one could photograph the impression in any mind, all 
the other minds would recognize the picture as that of 
Broadway. The fact is that while our mental im- 
pressions of a given object are continually changing, 
they always correspond with each other, and to the 
given reality. Now all the best of those maps corre- 
spond to each other in certain respects ; why, then, do 
they differ so widely from each other ? The answer is 
that the fixed points, the points of correspondence, are 
fewer in this case than when a real ohject is dealt with. 
From the text we fix the relative positions of certain 
points in the coast-line of the island, but the coast-line 
itself may be filled in with perfect independence so 
long as certain conditions are attended to. Even in 
filling up the outline of the map of the United States, a 
schoolboy allows himself a large amount of freedom 
in the greater or smaller number of undulations he 
supplies. But in this case he may throw out a whole 
peninsula or carve out a whole gulf as the fancy takes 
him, and yet no one can object. All the critic is 
entitled to ask is : " Does this map contradict any 
of the statements made in the text ? " A hundred 
maps characteristically different from each other may 
yet give a completely satisfactory answer to this 

With such a variety of interpretations, can it be 
maintained that De Foe has succeeded in expressing 
his idea of the island ? Leaving out of account the 
large number of maps that differ from the truth as 
found in the text merely on account of the inability of 


the competitors to understand it, and considering only 
those maps which fulfil all De Foe's conditions so far 
as this has been attempted, we still find one idea of the 
island in De Foe's mind, and another in that of the author 
of each of those fairly successful maps. This raises the 
further question : Is it possible to write a atory like 
this without a clear concrete backgroun<l? In otlier 
words, had De Foe a clear and so far complete picture 
before his mind as he wrote? The answer must be 
that he had. No doubt a story of this kind may be 
written as a series of character sketches on a nebulous 
background. The thing is done every day. Probably 
a good half of the six novels that every week-day -now 
briugs forth in P^ngland, owe their early death to their 
failure to express what has never been brought to clear 
comeiouaiiesa in the minds of the writers. 

ThL9 question must not be obscured by any confusion 
between a clear and an accurate mental picture. We 
have already seen that De Foe makes several blunders, 
which the careful use of a chart would have rendered 
impossible. We have further proof that his conception 
of the island was very imperfect in its detads. In that 
dreary third part which labours under the depressing 
name of " The Serious Reflections, during the Life 
and surprising adventures of Robinson Crusoe : with 
his Vision of the Angelick World," and which was 
" Printed for W. Taylor at the Ship and Black Swan in 
Paternoster Row, 1720," De Foe seems to feel the want 
of a graphic representation of the island. In this 
work, accordingly, we find a remarkable combination 
of a picture and a map. We, of course, do not know 


how far De Foe ia personally responsible for the execu- 
tion of this map ; but it was no doubt produced under 
hia direction, and with the benefit of his criticism. It 
consists of a sort of bird's-eye view of the island, indi- 
cating the various natural features, and the surrounding 
sea. There are houses and huts scattered about the 
place, rivalling, and in many cases even exceeding, the 
hills in magnitude. Wherever there is a space free 
from hills, huts, and trees, the artist has thrown in a 
group of dancing or fighting savages. In the fore- 
ground Crusoe and some companions tower majestically 
as high as a corrupt perspective will permit, above the 
masts of a vessel at anchor in the offing. A touch of 
pathos is cunningly introduced by a representation, in 
the centre of the island, of the bower, in the midst of 
which is seen a clumsy bird of about the size of a tree 
with a pitiful legend coming out of its mouth : " Poor 
Robin Cruso." 

Such a picture, inaccurate if you please, but concrete 
and clear, must have figured itself in De Foe's mind. 
His description may only bring out parts of it — a not 
uncommon phenomenon in reproducing mental im- 
agery. ^ It is none the less complete. Had Mr. Galton 
given the details of the occupations of the " 100 adult 
men, of whom 19 are fellows of the Royal Society, 
mostly of high repute, and at least twice, and I think 
I may say three times, as many more persona of dis- 
tinction in various kinds of intellectual work,"* it is 
almost certain that the novelists would be found to 



hold a commanding position among those whose power 
of mental imagery is very higli. De Foe would em- 
phatically have held a place not very far from the top. 
George Meredith, and writers of his class, may make 
up their conversations between mere minds without any 
mental imagery at all ; De Foe always wrote liis tales 
as if he were sitting in the pit of a theatre, and de- 
scribing what he saw passing on the stage. 

We have seen that it ia fashionable just now in Psy- 
chology to speak of mental states as forming a continuum 
in which all our ideas find a rational place, according 
to their relations to each other and to the whole. Pro- 
fessor Ward ' contrasts the place an impression holds 
in this continuum with that held by a mere idea. His 
illustration is peculiarly apt. The impression remains 
permaDently fixed for our examination ; if we examine 
one part now, and then return to it, we find that it has 
not changed materially in the interval. Each part 
exists independently of its relation to the whole. A 
mental image, on the other hand, he compares to one 
of those designs worked out in gas that we see at some 
of our illuminations. As the wind sweeps over them, 
now one part and now another disappears altogether, 
and the darker the one part becomes, the brighter the 
others. Such an image of the island we may suppose 
to have hovered before the eyes of De Foe. As he 
wrote of the castle, a bright picture of that stronghold 
arose in his mind, and enabled him to write of it as it 
he were actually looking at it. By and by it was the 
tarn of the bower, or the little harbour for his boat. 
' Art " Psychology," Enc. Brit. 


But while each bad its turn of greater prominenee, the 
whole notion of the island remained a continuum. 
Each part was always to some extent correlated to 
the rest. The cause of whatever errors may appear in 
the description is to be found in the comparative 
feebleness of this supervising and correlating general 
conception of the island. What was the source of De 
Foe's charm was also the source of the danger he un- 
doubtedly ran of sacrificing the whole to the part. 

Assuming that De Foe ha« a very vivid picture in 
his mind of eacli of the scenes he describes, how far 
has he been siiecesaful in expressing this picture in 
words? If we are to judge by the interpretation sup- 
plied by the various artists wlio have illustrated the 
book, his success must be regarded as very moderate, 
Crusoe omits to state what sort of dog it was that he 
somewhat unkindly included among his list of " things 
of less value." The result is that artists revel in dogs 
of all species. But, for one inaccuracy for which De 
Foe is responsible, there are a score to be charged 
entirely to the artist. In an edition published in 1853, 
for example, we have the description of Crusoe's mak- 
ing BpaUirdashes to himself illustrated by a picture of 
Robinson in his bare feet. In an edition by T. Cadell 
and W. Davies (Strand, 1820), which proudly proclaims 
itself to be "embellished by engrarings by Thomas 
Stothard, Esq., R.A,," we find Crusoe's rough-and- 
ready tent represented as a regular marquee that might 
have kept company with lawn-tennis. Generally 
speaking, Crusoe is drawn as a very refined man who 
has come down in the world, rather than the rough 


young fellow he ia in the story represented to be. Even 
George Cruikshank cannot be trusted to reproduce 
exactly what his author describes. On page 78 of the 
original edition we find the foUowing passage, referring 
to Crusoe's excavations in his cave : " I worked side- 
ways to the Right Hand into the Rock, then turning to 
the riglit again worked quite out, and made me a Door 
to come out on the Outside of my pale or fortification." 
Cruikshank's illustration of this represents the door in 
question on the left hand of the pale or fortification. 
For this, manifestly, and for Mrs. Grundy's influence 
on the attire of the man Friday, De Foe cannot be held 

The fact of the matter ia that the process of commu- 
nicating an idea from one mind to another is not a 
single process, but a double one. The idea must be 
dissolved, as it were, in words, and then again crystal- 
lized out in the new mind.' To put it otherwise, the 
concrete of one raind must be reduced to its abstract 
terms, and tlien rebuilt into the concrete of the new 
mind. The differences in the interpretation of De 
Foe's words are due to the greater or lesa degree of 
abstractness to which these words have attained in the 
minds of different readers. If the words have reached 
a high degree of abstraction, there is every chance that 

1 The prooesa, in fact, is a simple example ot the way in which 
Panlhan cnnceives man to react on hia environment. "A inon point 
de Tue, I'homme est un appareil de Byst^matlsation qui re^oit lea im- 
pressions du Tbonde ext^rieor, les decompose, fait avec les ^l^mentsde 
nouvelles synthftsea et flaalcutent reagit de uiani^re & augnienter la 
finality en liii-m@me, dans la aocl^t^, et mSme dans la monde ^sX6- 
rieur." — V ActimlA Mentale, p. 88. 



they will reproduce the ideas in the mind of the author 
with the minimum of distortion of the author's funda- 

mental meaning. If each word is burdened with a 
aeries of associations, there is a strong probability that 
the resulting idea will be unduly coloured by the 




individnality of the reader's mind. This brings us to 
the hypotheses on which those maps have been con- 
structed. To begin with, it is evident that many of 
them were begun on a preconceived hypothesis which 
owed nothing to a careful examination of the facts to 
be found in the text. These facts had to find a place 
on the map no duubt, but a place had to be found for 
them in a system of things previously determined. 
They had no share in fixing that system. 

The face map (No, 1) is very obviously a deliberate 
attempt to fit in all the facts into a fanciful order of 
things which symbolizes, without representing, the true 
state of affairs. The map may fairly be regarded as an 
unconscious satire on much of the hypothesis-making 
in higher philosophical circles. It is a useful diagram 
of one of the idols of the theatre. 

Map No. 2 is drawn on a peculiarly streaked and 
coloured paper which makes not a bad imitation of 
bark. The drawing and printing are of tlie roughest 
possible description. The whole production conveys 
the impression that there is a dehberate desire to repre- 
sent such a rough draught as Robinson himself might 
have made with the limited apparatus at his disposal 
after his return, or more probably on shipboard on his 
way home. For the draughtsman is evidently working 
under the influence of the directions, where he was told 
to make such a map as Crusoe " might have showed to 
his friends after he came home." Dominated by this 
idea, the boy has modified all the rest to suit, and who 
shall say that he has not attained a considerable degree 
of s 



Stjll another form of preconception arises from the 
prominence in the minds of the competitors of some 
familiar island as represented on the school map. 
Many minds in conceiving an island do not get beyond 
the pictorial stage ; do not, indeed, reach even to the 
receptual stage ; but actually think all islands under 
some standard concrete form. The Isle of Wight and 
the Isle of Man appear to be the two most powerful in 
determining the shape of such maps as do not give 




traces of careful preparation from the text. Two maps 
are of special interest as being obviously modelled on 
Trinidad. If this is done deliberately, tt indicates a 
very creditable insight into the meaning of the method 
of analogy. Crusoe's Island itself has, in some minds, 
a shape of its own, entirely independent of the facts to 
be elicited from the text. The accompanying curious 
sketch (Map No. 3) was drawn for me with the utmost 
readiness by a clever and remarkably well-read friend, 
who assured nie that this exactly represented what he 



had always regarded as tlie Robinson Crusoe Island. 
He had no grounds whatever for his choice of shape, 
yet he felt sorry that anything should be done to de- 
prive him of the behef he had in his own island. 

Among the more general grounds that determined 
the preconception on which a map was founded, are the 
desire to make a pretty map, and the influence of the 
kind of map to which the competitor has been accus- 
tomed. The use of colours, borders, compass-dials, are 
the result of the former influence ; the special fomi 
of contour maps, charts, and bird's-eye-view pictorial 
maps are due to the latter. 

Limiting ourselves to the effects of the information 
supplied by tlie text of the atory, we may easily divide 
all of the maps into two classes : those which have a 
peninsula in the southeast corner, and those which have 
not. The latter, a sufficiently large class, represent 
the work of those who did not read the second part, 
where the description of this peninsula occurs. Of the 
former class there are, again, two divisions, according as 
the first or second part of the story has had the greater 
influence. In most cases the first part has been the 
dominant one, which for obvious reasons is natural. 
The competitors who lay more stress on the second 
part indicate this by the division of the whole island 
into provinces after the manner of a regular political 
map (No. 4), and by labelling them as belonging to 
the Spaniards, the Indians, and the Villainous English- 
men respectively. 

Of the three processes, — collecting the facts, eoUat- 
jng them and forming an explanatory hypothesis, re- 


producing the facta according to this hypothesis, — it is 
naturally the middle one that gives most trouble. The 
hypothesiB is often wildly made ; but once having made 
a hypothesis, the competitors spare no pains in trying 
to fit in their facts. For example, many maps show 
the following peculiarity. Every measurement that is 
positively given in the text is reproduced exactly, but 
any measurement or relation that can only be inferred 
from a comparison of two separate passages is neg- 
lected. In other words, the island is represented in 
the competitor's mind by a series of what Mr. Stout 
would call "floating" systems of ideas, each perfectly 
consistent within itself, but which must be modified by 
fighting its way into the general system to wliich it 


The " first-prize " map (No. 5) is fortunately good 
enough to illustrate the result of the successful struggle 
of those floating systems to find their true place in the 
containing system. Almost without exception, every 
measurement given in the text is accurately reproduced 
on this map. Compare, for example, the distances of the 
various ships from the shore, the distance from the castle 
to the watch-hil!, the length of the tongue of land and 
Its breadth, the bower half-way between the castle and 
the boat, the distance to the various rocks that deflected 
the currents. The only point where there is a notice- 
able discrepancy is in the distance of the north current, 
which is greater than the league that Robinson gives 
it, and the distance between the north and south track 
of the boat. This distance the book states to be two 
leagues. In the map it is more, Tliia latter diacrep- 


ancy would probably be avoided by placing the tongue 
of land given to the savages somewhat farther south. 
This is desirable on other grounds, as in its present 
position it can hardly be said to be " on the southeast 
corner of the island." 

With these trifling exceptions, the map co-ordinates 
all the systems, and produces a whole which has the 
additional advantage of eliminating the draughtsman 
altogether. The map is purely abstract. Everything 
is represented merely in terms of extension. De Foe's 
ideas have received the minimum amount of altera- 
tion in passing through the mind of the map-drawer. 
Where those ideas are self-contradictt>ry, the draughts- 
man chooses the alternative that causes least disar- 
rangement of the general plan of the island. 

So far we have been regarding this island under only 
one aspect, — its extension. Suppose the wider prob- 
lem were set, to write a full account of the island in all 
respects, yre might at first sight think that very little 
could be added beyond a few general remarks, such as 
one finds about the beginning of a certain class of 
novel. But, as a matter of fact, enough data are given 
to determine very minutely every detail. To begin 
with, poor De Foe would very soon have to yield his 
authority to better men. No doubt he lays down the 
conditions to the problem, but it does not follow that 
he understands all that each condition implies. The 
mere longitude and latitude of the island establish a 
great crowd of circumstances unknown to De Foe, 
The fact that there was an earthquake opens up lines 
of limitations that only geological specialists can work 


out, even imperfectly. The plants that Robinson grew, 
the animals that he shot, all bring their limitations. It 
is the old story. To do anything well enough to please 
a German philosopher, one must exhaust the universe. 
One must sit with Lotze in the spider-web of phenom- 
ena supplied by De Foe, and seek if haply by some 
means or other one may reach the centre, whence all 
tilings can he seen in their true relations. There is no 
royal road to the centre. Each must find a way for 
himself, some fairly direct, most very crooked indeed, 
everything depending on the number and nature of the 
apperception masses. In this search for fragments of 
truth, temporary resting-places for general views, the 
schoolmaster has to play the part of spider. A benevo- 
lent spider, be it understood, whose business is not to 
make plain the already geometrically clear lines of the 
web, but to see that guiding apperception masses are 
so arranged that they shall lead ultimately to the 
centre, by the way, however crooked it may seem, that 
is best for each seeker. 



" A MAN who trains monkeys to act in plays, used to 
purchase common kinds from the Zoological Society, at 
.the price of ^5 for each ; but he offered to give double 
the price, if he might keep three or four of them for 
a few days in order to select one. When asked how 
he could possibly learn so soon whether a particular 
monkey would turn out a good actor, he answered that 
it all depended on their power of attention. If when 
he was talking and explaining anything to a monkey 
its attention was easily distracted, as by a fly on the 
wall, or other trifling object, the case was hopeless. If 
he tried by punishment to make an inattentive monkey 
act, it turned sulky. On the other hand, a monkey 
which carefully attended to him could always be 

This incident is full of instruction for teachers. 
There is a great deal of human nature in monkeys. 
Unfortunately, we are not in a position to apply the 
surface moral. We cannot return the three or four 
inattentive monkeys, and keep the good little one who 
pays no attention to the passing flies. We must keep 
them all and by some means or other make them atten- 
tive. The method that made the monkeys sulky is 
■ Darwin, Descent of Man, aecond edition, p. 73. 



the popular one with teachers ; but the monkey trainer 
was right in discarding it. 

Attention has been described as an act of mental 
prehension. As an animal seizes its food with bill or 
claw and holds it in a convenient position til) the ex- 
ternal organs of the alimentary system have worked 
their will upon it, so the mind in the act of attention 
seizes some idea and brings it within the reach of the 
apperception masses, and holds it there till these have 
had a chance of either assimilating or rejecting it.. 
Dropping all figures, the function of attention is to 
single out some part of the presented content for 
special treatment by the soul- 
It is obviously of the first importance for the teacher 
to understand how attention works. But when he 
turns to his text-books, he gets not an explanation of 
the mechanism of attention, but a classification. He is 
told that attention is either voluntary or involuntary, 
but it is only in i-ecent books that any consideration is 
given to involuntary attention. Hitherto it lias been 
regarded as of trifling importance, as something be- 
longing to man's lower nature. Its position has greatly 
improved of late. 

The classification has done this at least : it has in- 
troduced a new element into the problem. We have 
now the soul, the object of attention, the act of atten- 
tion, and the will that in some eases, at least, seems to 
direct the attention. At this moment, I can, if I 
choose, withdraw all my mental force from almost 
everything else and centre it on, say, the Carboniferous 
Period. This is what is known as voluntary attention. 


But suppose that while I am in the act of withdraw- 
ing all my mental force from my paper, my pen, my 
lamp, in order to fix it upon what I can remember of 
Lyell and Dana and Geikie, a knock comes to my study 
door, my mental force eeema to dissipate itself sud- 
denly only to concentrate once more, this time on the 
annoyance of the interruption. This is what usually 
passes for involuntary attention. 

Observe, it is not the door that I attend to in the 
first place, it is the annoyance, and in all cases of invol- 
nntary attention this is true : we do not attend for the 
sate of the object itself, but because of some emotional 
accompaniment.^ This emotional element rouses our 
intereit in the object with which it is connected. It 
may be pleasant, as in the case of a child interested in 
the piece of candy In a shop window, or it may be pain- 
ful, as in the case of the same child at a later stage at 
the dentist's. In both cases attention naturally fol- 
lows interest : the child eagerly attends to the candy 
- in the window, but no less eagerly to the forceps in the 
dentist's hand. Interest may be said to hold the same 
relation to involuntary attention, that the will holds to 

I "The aeBumpt[on tliat attention depends on pleaaure-pain seems 
to hove no sufBcient Ijasis. The relation ie not one of cause and effect. 
The coincidODCe of interest and attention ia simply due to the fact 
that interest as actually felt at any moment is nothing but attention 
Itself conaideced in its hedonic aspect. . . . Stnmpf, indeed, goes too 
tax nhea he says ' attention is identical wiUi interest,' but the distinc- 
tion between tliem is simply that the word interest carries with It a ref' 
erance to something else as well as to attention as a mode of mental 
activity ; this something else is the pleasure-pain tone of the attention 
process." — G. F. Stout, Aiiali/lieal I'aycholog'j, Vol. I., pp. 224, 225. 


voluntary. In involuntary attention tlie ol)J6ct plays 
the leading part ; in voluntary attention the soul, 
this distinction must not be pushed too far. 

The same forces are at work in both cases, though in 
different proportions. In writing the paragraph on vol- 
untary attention, I paused for a moment after setting 
down the words "centre it on, say," and reflected — 
" well, — which out-of-the-way idea shall I select for 
special attention ? " and out of nowhere in particular 
floated the Carboniferous Period. At first sight it ap- 
pears that the idea came at the call of my will out of 
that great unconscious world with which we are all 
surrounded. In point of fact, it came out of the coal- 
box. For no sooner did I set myself to discover why I 
had thought of the Carboniferous Period in preference 
to anything else, tlian I remembered that a few iiiinutes 
before I had replenished the study fire. This circum- 
stance had so increased the presentative activity of the 
idea of the Carboniferous Period, as to give it a great 
advantage in the competition for admission into con-. 
sciousness. The will is obviously not alone responsi- 
ble for the attention in this case. 

Return now to the knock at the door. Here the will 
seems to be completely overridden. It wished to at- 
tend to the Carboniferous Period, and a beggarly 
knock at the door transferred the attention from the 
time of the first beetles to the time of house-maids and 
tlie penny-post. Yet, after all, the house-maid is no 
better than the coal-box. Something has for the time 
given her a greater power of attracting the attention 
than the other objects of my surroundings have. That 


Yet I 


is all. If I had really made up ray mind to attend to 
the Carboniferous Period, I could have disregarded her 
knock, or even not have heard it at all. If I drop the 
Carboniferous Period because the maid enters with a 
letter, it is because I am more interested in my letter 
than in Geology. 

Thus, while there is a sufficiently clear "working" 
distinction between voluntary and involuntary atten- 
tion, they caimot be absolutely marked off one from 
the other. There is ii regular aeries from the almost 
purely will-less attention which a young child gives to 
a bright light, up to the intense attention that a con- 
scientious poet gives to an uninteresting arithmetical 
calculation by sheer will-power, a series in any one of 
the terms of which will and interest are to be found in 
inverse ratio. In any given state of attention the less 
the interest, the greater the amount of will-power neces- 
sary to maintain it. One of the main aims of education 
is to enable the pupil to pass from the purely involun- 
tary to the purely voluntary forms of attention. Yet 
so peculiarly close and intricate are the relations of 
those two forms of attention that, in a certain sense, 
the converse is ttue, and the function of education may 
be regarded as the creation of involuntary attention 
through voluntary attention. By deliberately concen- 
trating our attention upon a certain class of subjects, 
we may build up such a powerful apperception mass 
that any fact connected with that mass will at once at- 
tract our attention quite irrespective of our will. This 
produces an alertness to certain classes of facts that 
may be of the utmost service in our experience, and 




therefore may be legitimately held up as one of the 
aims of education. 

Accepting the classification into voluntary and in- 
voluntary, we have still to face the problem of what 
attention really is. Speaking broadly, it may be de- 
scribed as the concentration of mental energy on a 
given object. The total available amount of such 
energy at any moment may be diffused throughout the 
whole mind, or may be brought to a focus on a special 
point. Some psychologists maintain that we are always 
either attending to something, or passing from attend- 
ing to one thing in order to begin attending to another. 
We are always in a state of attention. Others main- 
tain that attention is not a natural but an acquired 
habit, like living in houses or using the tooth-brush. 
Ribot,^ for example, holds that we exist iji a sort of 
rhythmic series of states of attention and non-atten- 
tion, even when we think that we are attending all the 
time. To a large extent those discussions are limited 
to voluntary attention, and only so far as tliey are thus 
limited do they concern us. The rhythm of involun- 
tary attention is really a matter for the physiologist. 

Professor Morgan's wave figure may help us to 
understand this vexed question of attention. A man 
off on a holiday, with a good conscience and a fat purse, 
lies on his back in the sun with his hat over his eyes. 
Is he in a state of attention ? The answer must be that 
he is ; for so long as he is not asleep, tiie waves of his 
consciousness must roll on, and every wave must have 
a crest of some sort. That crest indicates the focal 
1 Bibot, Piythology of AtUntioit, Chap. 11. 1. 


elements of the conscioustiesa at that moment ; in other 
words, the elements to which the attention is directed, 
But in figurmg his waves, Professor Morgan has not 
in any way committed himself as to their shape. The 
waves of consciousness may vary as greatly as those of 
the sea. Our holiday man's wave is a long, rolling 
wave with a broad, unbroken crest. It indicates a 
great mass of focal elements, none of which, however, 
Eire very clearly marked out. By and by the sun sinks, 
and our friend has to go on ; lazily enough, no doubt, 
but still on. His waves still roll long, broad, and 
glassy, till he has reached his hotel, when he finds that 
his fat purse has disappeared. Instantly the waves 
change their character : they become high and rapid, 
crest succeeding crest with wonderful speed. Every 
possible spot where that purse could have rolled out of 
the pocket has a wave crest to itself in a lightning-like 
succession. Suddenly a flash of memory suggests that 
he has placed the money at the bottom of his knapsack, 
when at once a fearsome billow rears itself to a knife- 
edge, and keeps itself in that diSicult position all the 
time that he is feverishly tearing out the contents of 
his kit, till the discovery of the missing money sends 
down the wave. All the time the man lias been attend- 
ing to something or other ; but it is only to the latter 
part of that day's exx>erienceB that we are inclined to 
apply the term attention. 

While voluntary and involuntary attention differ, as 
we have seen, the mechanism which they call into play 
is exactly the same. In both eases we have the con- 
centration of mental force upon a limited area. This, 


of course, means that force must be drawn from cer- 
tain parts. Attention, as the psychophysicists have it, 
is inhibition. We do not really direct our attention 
to this or that object. We simply call it off from all 
other objects. We are told that the phenomena attend- 
ing attention are of three kinds, — vasomotor, respira- 
tory, and motory (or motions of expression). We 
cannot here do more than touch the fringe of an in- 
tensely interesting discussion at present going on as to 
the relation between emotion and the expression of the 
emotion. As far back as Plato, we find complaints 
that the playing of the parts of bad men has a tendency 
to make the actors become bad men,^ What we might 
be inclined to smile at as a playful fancy in the Repub- 
lic, we must look upon with other eyes when we find 
it in the pages of a psychologist of the standing of 
Mr. W. James. 

This writer is inclined to reverse the usual view of 
the causal relation between emotion and ita expression. 
His thesis is that " the bodily changes follow directly the 
perception of the exciting fact, and that our feeling of the 
same changes as they occur is the emotion. Common sense 
says: 'We lose our fortune, are sorry, and weep.'"^ 
But Mr. James would say, we lose our fortune, we weep, 
and then are sorry. I am insulted, I clench my fists and 
contract my brows, and then I proceed to get angry. 

" Stated in this crude way," says Mr. James, " the 
hypothesis is pretty sure to meet with immediate dis- 

' Sepnblie, III. 396, 

" Principle of Peychology, Vol. II., p. MO. ETery teacher should 
read tbe whole of Chaji. XXV. 



belief." Accordingly, he proceeds to give a series of 
very cogent arguments in favour of his position. 
What he considers the vital point of his theory is 
expressed thus : ^^ If we fancy some string emotion, and 
then try to abstract from our con»ciou»ne»s of it all the 
feelingg of its bodily Bymptoms, we find we have nothing 
left behind, no mind-stuff out of which the emotions 
can be constituted, and that a cold and neutral state 
of intellectual perception is all that remains." 

It is beyond the province of this book even to attempt 
a decision on this matter. Indeed, it may be asked 
what such physiologi co-psychological theories have to 
do with TIerbartianism. Our only reply is that if they 
have little to do with Herbart, they have a great deal 
to do with the real work of teaching, and that no writer 
need apologize for introducing a theory the establish- 
ment of which would gladden the heart of every one of 
hia readers. 

For, if Mr. James ia right, then shall the practical 
teacher at last get those definite rules after which hia 
soul longs ; at last there will be something definite 
for the teacher to do. To a certain extent the theory 
is already acted upon. Every prosy lecturer to the 
young who urges his dear young friends to count ten 
before they reply to an angry speech, every clodliopper 
who whistles and waves his stick as he passes by the 
churchyard at midnight, every faith-healed cripple who 
hangs up his crutch by some holy well, is a practical 
supporter of Mr. James. It has,' however, received a 
more direct illustration in the actual work of teaching. 
Mr. Thring in his pungent reinarks on the potency of 


attitude ' acts upon the theory, aud roundly blames 
teachers for most of the inattention found in tlieir 
classeH. If a boy is allowed to maintain the attitude 
of inattention, nothing can prevent him from becoming 

Every act of attention has at least its hedonic aspect, 
and to that extent comes under the laws that regulate 
emotions and their expression. In so far, then, as one 
can control the physical expression of attention, one 
can control attention. Of the three classes of phenom- 
ena marking attention, we cannot directly regulate our 
vasomotor activities, hut we have some control over 
our respiratory functions, and can and do modify them 
when we seek to attend very closely to anything. Our 
phenomena of expression are well within our control, 
so that we have the means of regulating two out of the 
three classes of phenomena which aceompaiiy, and may 
cause, attention. 

Even those writers who deny any causal connection 
between muscular action and attention, admit that there 
is some connection between them by which the one aids 
the other. Mr. Stout, for example, says " muscular ad- 
justment is the support of attention, but not, strictly 
speaking, an integral part of it.'"" From our point of 
view, this scarcely lessens the enormous importance to 
be attached in education to the muscular concomitants 
of attention. 

Passing now from the conditions of attention to the 
actual mechanism as stated by the psychophysical 

' Theory and Practice 0/ Edneation, pp. 177 B. 
" Analytical Psychology, Vol. I., p. 224. 


school, we find the following description by Maudsley 
of what happens when we voluntarily direct our atten- 
tion towards a given object. " What is accomplished 
in such cases is the excitation of certain nervous cur- 
rents of ideas, and their maintenance in action until 
they have called into consciousness, by radiation of 
energy, all their related ideas, or as many of them as 
it may be possibly, in the then condition of the brain, 
to stimulate into action. It would appear, then, that 
the force that we mean by attention is rather a vis a 
fronte attracting consciousness, than a vi« a tergo driv- 
ing it. Consciousness is the result, not the cause of 
the excitation. The psychological mode of expression 
puts the cart before the horse ; the problem in reflec- 
tion is not, as it is said, to direct consciousness or to 
direct the attention to an idea, but to arouse con- 
sciousness of it by stirring it up to a certain pitch of 
activity." ^ 

Without at all committing ourselves to the material- 
istic basis of this argument, we may fairly claim that 
Maudsley's conclusions are in full harmony with the 
Herbartian theory. 

Attention consists in giving ideas a chance to rise 
above the threshold. This chance is given them by 
keeping back or inhibiting all other ideas, and particu- 
larly those which are hostile to the ideas we wish to 
bring into prominence. It is this work of inhibition 
that causes the peculiar feeling of effort that marks all 
voluntary attention as opposed to involuntary. "Either 
we must abandon all explanation, or admit an action 
' Physiology of Mind, |ip. 317 H. Quoted by Ribot. 


of inhibition exerted upon the motor elements of 
states of consciousness involved. In such 
have a very distinct feeling of sustained effort. And 
whence could that feeling come, if not from the energy 
expended to accomplish the acts of inhibition ? For, 
ijideed, the ordinary course of thought, left to itself, 
is exempt from any such sensation." ^ 

Accepting inhibition as a working hypothesis to ex- 
plain the mechanism, we have now to find what force 
directs attention or determines the point upon which 
it shall be applied. In every case attention owes its 
direction to the emotional states that accompany mental 
action ; in other words, attention follows interest. Sup- 
pose that the letter brought by the maid in our former 
example comes from a friend with whom I am anxious 
to enter into communication, I turn with what ia 
called interest to the map. The letter ia dated from 
Foggia, and the portrait of King Umberto on the stamp 
shows me that Foggia is in Italy. My eye, in running 
rapidly down the peninsula, passes with indifference 
some of the most interesting towns in the world with- 
out any attention resulting. Venice, Floreuee, Rome, 
and Naples all have to give place to this comparatively 
unknown town of Foggia. Once Foggia has been 
found, the interest (and the attention) passes from it 
to Briudisi, which ia to be my friend's next stopping- 
place. The distance between those towna suddenly ac- 
quires an interest, which soon gives way to that of the 
postal arrangements, which I find in a convenient little 
book on my desk. In all this attention follows interest. 
1 Hibot, T}ie- Psychnlogy nf Allenlion, p. M, 

f the 1 

s we 1 


At first sight it may seem that the converse may ho 
maintained with equal truth, for in very many caaes 
interest certainly does follow attention. If we take up 
some particularly commonplace object, aay an old key, 
and direct all our attention to it, tlic result is that a 
certain amount of interest ia at once developed. But 
while it is true tliat the greater the interest in an 
object the greater the attention we naturally give it, 
the converse does not hold. It is not true that tliw 
greater the attention the greater the interest. Interest 
depends upon the appertieption masses that can Iw 
brought into relation with the given object. Attention 
cannot create masses, it can only give initHses a clianue 
to rise into consciousness. I attend with maddening 
concentration to a black spot on my sheet of note paper, 
and the more I attend the \em interesting; the blot be- 
comes. If I want interest, I must let my mind wander 
around the blot, and seek to find a place for it in some 
respectable apperception mass. Intense attention Ut a 
very limited area does not conduce Ui interest, but to 
sleep. The hypnotic patient can hardly be mid to fihow 
a high degree of interest. 

Teachers are fond of talking aliout creating an 
interest ; but thi^ labour at least is Hfmretl them. 
They haVe not to create hut only to direct interent. 
The most careless and inattentive boy at scbtxil ia n^ 
without interest, not even withont attention, llie 
trouble is that he i.^^ interested in wrong thinga, and 
natorally attends to what he i/t int«r«!!tt«f) in. It ut 
no doubt humiliating for thtt sohmilmaoter to accept 
a place in the »cale of interest, much lower than th«( 


held by a healthy bluebottle ; but thei-e is comfort in the 
thought that at the expense of a slight sacrifice of dig- 
nity the tables may be turned upon the droning dipter. 
Let but the master appear in a night-cap ot sufficient 
brilliancy, and the bluebuzzer will buzz in vain. 

This night-cap teaching must characterize the earli- 
est stages of infant training. The child's attention is 
nearly involuntary, which is fortunate for the teacher, 
who can thus to a large extent direct the infantile at- 
tention in any way he pleases, so long as he takes the 
trouble to understand how the thing works. He can 
so arrange his object that the child cannot choose hut 
attend. So soon as the master introduces the ideas of 
reward and punishment, tlie child enters upon a new 
stage. The child who attends to the name of a ginger- 
bread letter in order that having once learned the name 
he may afterwards eat the letter, has entered upon the 
second stage of attention, — tlie stage with wliich the 
process of education is specially concerned. In the firgl 
stage the attention follows whatever attracts it ; interest 
is paramount. In the third, or final stage, the con- 
tents of the mind are so arranged and organized that 
attention can be maintained in certain directions with 
the minimum of interest. It would seem, then, that 
the process of education consists in the systematic 
elimination of interest. This view is true to the ex- 
tent that interest is continually being eliminated from 
certain mental processes, and transferred to others. 
The child first loses interest in how to hold the pen, 
then in how to form the simple letters, next in the 
proper joining of the letters, and so on. But each loss 



of interest is accouipaniMl by tli« il«»vclo|>t»PUl nf H IWW 
interest. Interest is, and Una luii{{ l>t>ti|i iiKii^)tlilitt>t| an, 
the gravitation of educatiuu. 

We are here brought ffioB to fiwo with tJio nii|)|iiH«iilll 
aspect of interest that is imually (htnoUiil by lbi> liirm 
gelf-interegt, and. teachers arti fomiil wbn iibjcul. in lliii 
use of interest on the ground tliiil It IiiiuIh In huIIImIi- 
ness. The objection is triflii% iviiit itliiuiHt iiliwni'tby 
of consideration. 

It is to the interest of a granito iiKinilinnt U} Imtl'li tt 
little Swedish and Norwit^ian in oriliir L>i Im iiblu lit 
correspond with ScandinaviaiiN with wliiiiii IiIm biiHliiuitH 
brings him into contact. In ^hiM mm^ lli» UilmuHi 1h 
not in Swedish but in granite, ur (rrobiibly iimMf Ut 
the profits that the granit« iiiay bring, Y»l tlut Jdl**' 
est in money or grumtit etuueH t\us nUMhtUm L" Iw 
turned to Swedish. 

Sometimes a dagyman tsotivmm « mtiut/n, •»■ » inM- 
ticiaa iin addteMi, hy mU odiMAttff » uUffji. If iim nLfff 
is wH^ed into the fibre at tim nMtmit m MMrt- H «^M4 
not be widadcawa •an^AttfiA n ftftatfaiy Um wiiM^ imuin^ 
of the a rsMM p t , tfae ntanM J i «i wtiw< (/> Um^ wKm-) m 
Bat if lint «wte» «w iw)/v4MM4 )«Av » 

IvidE it^ lAkwr «tM» ^ lUU *itw/ >* ^mtit. 
■Mnn* 4iM «Ki(ft) lObv 'Aw/^ 'jf'iw> ,i«i » Mm"- f4 

4he jya fl wr MMdV^ iImuiIiiw lUtHi- Hiiwtia^ 4ir 


In the case of the granite merchant we have a more 
hopeful example. The man may be led through money 
to granite, and through granite to Swedish, and yet 
by and by take an honest interest in Swedish, without 
in any way diminishing his interests in other directions, 

This seems the most natural place to take up another 
objection to the use of interest in education. There 
are those wlio fear that by making everything in 
school interesting and pleasant, there will be lost one 
of the main advantages of our school training. A boy 
brought up on the interest principle, it is argued, when 
he is thi'own out into the world, where everything is 
not arranged so as to i^nterest him, will find himself 
unable to cope with the new and unexpected circum- 
stances. Critics who reason thus tell us that John 
will live to curse the training that gave him a false 
view of life, and left him unprepared to face the grim 
reality. They complain bitterly about our playing at 
education, and assert with vehemence the need of hon- 
est effort if anything is to be attained either in acquir- 
ing knowledge or gaining self-command. They despise 
an efl'eminate all efforts to add to the charm of work to 
be done, and quote with grim approval Bain's words : — 

" Then comes the atern conclusion that the uninter- 
esting must be faced at last ; that by no palliation or 
device are we able to make agreeable everything that 
has to be mastered. The age of drudgery must com- 
mence : every motive that can avert it is in the end 
exhausted." ^ 

The theory of interest does not propose to banish 
' Education as a Si-itncf, p. 184. 


drudgery, but only to make drudgery tolerable by giv- 
ing it a meaning. We have Heen that what in inter- 
esting is by no means necessarily pleasant ; b\it it in 
something that impels us to exertion. If pleaniire bn 
the sole object the teacher has in view in onltivating 
interest, he will fail miserably. The pleasnn) attend- 
ing interest only comes when the interest lias no direct' 
thought of pleasure. George Kliot well oxfireHHeH Her- 
bart's many-sided interest in tlie epilogne to Uomola^ 
where Romola is teaching Lillo. "It is only a poor 
sort of happiness that conld ever come by caring yt\ry 
much about our own narrow jileaHurcH. We can only 
have the highest happiness, sncli as go<;H along with 
being a great man, by having wide tlionglits, and irjuch 
feeling for the rest of the world as well as ourMelven $ 
and this sort of happiness ofU;n brings wt uiMch \tMU 
with it that we can only tell it from i^ain by itn tjeiiig 
what we would chrx^e l^efore everything else, SttuMi^Hm 
our souls see it is grxyi/' 

Coming down from this high level Ut the funuunm 
motives of miif^A life, we find thi^t, s// far from ener 
vating the pupil. t}>e ftrlhcliAe fj/t jfiU;reHt Spn^'A'M Stuu 
up to endure aJl rnanfier of drudgery stnd \i'At<\ woiU. 
The medical situdent wKoiihirks the drodg^^ry of niottiiV 
ing mierosicopir; vMrit^p, will i^.\^'rUi\ hourx in »/:/|iiiiing by 
iDOikOtonoa>, v»oric n. lij^f >j1 ^^.fhV^'• '4,1 btlJMfd^ , the Uv^ 
sttbdetrt who 1a \/,t^A fZ/^U/^iit b/ U*^; xfipf/^/H»t.»i.i//«ii« (Uh 
piates frf th'^it^e o-^^rrKiv/rr**; (/*',#>t//r»x A *r*/J JJ ni but t^fext 

worked O^T %^. ^-^^ ♦'-^^^l *^ ' ^.##.vf.r./Iiy|» " 'I/, ///fi^ 


hand drawing copy will eagerly work for houra on his 
alate, or on the unprinted pages of his Reader, to get 
up a peculiarly roguish expression on his " man's " face, 
or a specially satisfactory way of turning a foot, or 
representing the smoke of a steamer or the billows of 
a choppy sea. If a teacher has once ohserved a boy 
learning to read with the book upside down, he will no 
longer doubt that interest helps boys to face drudgery, 
not to shun it. A boy who despises the ordinary read- 
ing lessons as the veriest " tommyrot " will devote 
every moment of his spare time to acquire this fasci- 
nating art of inversion. The case is not unknown in 
which John, in his ill-considered zeal to acquire the 
coveted art, has so far forgotten himself as to give him- 
self seriously to the legitimate form of reading in order 
the better to master the illegitimate. 

It must not be supposed that this is a mere matter 
of the difference between work and play, as in the 
classical case of Tom Sawyer and the fence. It is true 
that John resents problems in his arithmetic book, re- 
garding it (not without some show of reason) as a 
waste of time to find how many pecks of corn a certain 
number of horses will eat under distressingly compli- 
cated circumstances ; while he will cheerfully sacrifice 
a whole afternoon to puzzle his way through some 
arithmetical quibble at the end of his Youth's Com- 
panion or of his Bot/'a Own Paper. Yet if by any 
means the teacher can rouse interest in those unfortu- 
nate animals, the arithmetical beasts at once get John's 
fullest voluntary attention. 

A case in point. John was a perfectly normal type — 


clevei' and very careless. Suddenly the mathematical 
master reported an amazing impi-ovement in John's 
marks. On investigation the improvement was found 
to limit itself to mensuration. Still further inquiry 
narrowed down the prodigy to areas of segments of 
circles ; but as those eould not be understood without 
previous work, Jolm asked and obtained permission 
to work from the begiiuiing. In three weeks he had 
bored his way honestly through half of Todhunter'a 
Mensuration, and was very eager to he promoted to 
the volumes of spheres. John was now the talk of the 
masters' room, where nobody had a good word to say 
for him except the science master, who reported that 
John had developed a violent interest in Chemistry, 
and was showing leanings towards volumetric analysis, 
The whole trouble was afterwards traced to its primary 
bacillus in a gigantic balloon that John was projecting. 
How to cut the gores drove him to Todhunter ; how to 
calculate how much zinc and sulphuric acid were neces- 
sary to float his balloon with hydrogen had urged him 
to Chemistry. Balloon-making did not make either 
mensuration or Chemistry easy ; it made them inter- 

A feeble objection to the use of interest as an essen- 
tial part of all education is that it leaves no room for 
training the sense of duty. Under this lurks the 
humiliating assumption that duty is necessarily unin- 
teresting. This fallacy, that duty is in its very nature 
uninteresting and unpleasant, is deeply rooted in many 
minds, and requires very vigorous efforts to dislodge 
it. Most men And that all their acts fall easily and 


naturally into two great classes, — those that they do 
becaUBe they like to do them, and those that they do 
because they must. The great mistake lies in assum- 
ing that those two classes are mutually exclusive, and 
in identifying duty with the second class alone. If a 
schoolmaster plays golf or studies Chinese, it is because 
he likes to ; but when he teaches in school, it is because 
he must. Does it follow because a man has to teach 
for his living that he must therefore dislike teaching, 
and find it dull and uninteresting? No doubt the 
mere fact that he is compelled to work at teaching 
gives the man a strong bias against it ; a bias that some- 
times gets the better of him, but which, in many cases 
at least, is resisted. 

Spurgeon used to advise yoimg men who consulted 
him on the subject, not to become clergymen unless 
they could not help it. There are at least some 
teachers who have applied this principle in choosing 
their profession ; they teach because they cannot help 
it. That such teachers are rare cannot be denied, hut 
this surely does not go to prove the inj'udiciousneas of 
employing interest ; rather it shows the need for culti- 
vating it. It has to be admitted that there are some 
things in life dull and dreary in themselves ; tliat there 
is such a thing as drudgery. But drudgery can be 
faced and overcome not by a long course of drudgery 
drill at school, but by stirring up an interest in the 
process, or at any rate in the result, of the drudgery 
itself. A long course of drudgery in school will no 
doubt so break a boy's spirit as to make him unfit to 
be anything in the world but a drudge. So long as a 




boy 'a spirit remainB. a course of drudgery leads only to 
a wild desire to get free from it. Tliis educational 
homceopathy stands self -condemned. On the other 
hand, give a boy sufficient interest in anything, and 
we have seen that all the attendant drudgery is cheer- 
fully faced. 

But all boys are not interested in the same thinga. 
We must then discover wherein interest iu general 
consists. Why is a novel, for example, more interest- 
ing than a book on some scientific subject ? To this it 
is a perfectly legitimate reply : a novel is not more 
interesting than a book on science. We all know that 
Darwin at the end of his life could not read either 
poetry or fiction, tliough in his youth he had been fond 
of both ; and many who have no claim to be mentioned 
in the same breath with Darwin share in this peculiar- 
ity. It cannot be denied, however, that the scientific 
book cannot compete with the novel in the open market. 
Public librarians blush as they annually proclaim their 
thousands of novel readers, and their beggarly hun- 
dreds of readers of scientific and other solid books. 

Yet even here we must discriminate. It is not a 
question merely of novels versus solid books ; it is one 
kind of novel against another, Huxley's Crayji»K and 
Professor Judd's Volcanoes would score an easy first if 
their only rivals were novels of the style of, say, Rat- 
aelas and the Shaving of Shagpat. There are hard 
novels and easy novels ; most people find their interest 
in easy novels. Why is Tlie Gates of Eden easier to 
read than Romola? The answer is: it is not easier; 
it is different. It all depends on the reader. There 


are those who have no interest in The Gates of Eden 
»ecau8e their apperception masses cannot supply the 
ideas necessary to apperceive the idyllic sweetness of 
he tale. Give them a good-going Police News para- 
graph, or a spicy divorce case, and their masses do not 
'ail them ; interest is no longer lacking. There are 
.hose again who cannot get up an interest in The Gates 
yf Uden for quite another reason. Those minds have 

ed through and passed beyond the stage at which 

3 Gates are of interest. Such minds find their inter- 
est in hooks like Romola. 

Here, as elsewhere, it is all a matter of apperception 
masses. Cheap easy novels have the widest circulation 
because most people's apperception masses are meagre 
and badly arranged. The masses connected with the 
senses are naturally well-developed in most minds, and 
the very word sensational, as applied to novels, is an 
unconscious argument in favour of the truth of our 

Yet books of the same class, and dealing with pre- 
cisely the same stage of the same subject, differ consid- 
erably in the interest that they call forth. Here we 
have a much more promising field of inquiry for our 
purpose. Obviously it cannot be a difference in matter 
this time, for the matter is identical in the two cases ; 
and beliind this consideration is the uneasy feeling that 
as a cousequence interest cannot depend on the apper- 
ception masses after all. The masses can explain why 
we prefer Byron's Waterloo to a useful little text-book 
on ambulance work ; but how are we to explain our 
greater interest in one ambulance book than in anoth^ 


which covers exactly the same ground ? T!ie difference 
must obviously lie in the form in which the matter is 
presented. To those matter-of-fact people who main- 
tain that when a fact has to be communicated it does 
not at all matter how it is done, it is pleasant to be 
able to supply an illustration after their own heart. 
The chief waste of our bodies is in carbon, of which we 
require to make up about 4500 grains per day, if we 
happen to be the average healthy man that the Physiol- 
ogy text-boobs love. Accordingly we want a large 
and steady supply of carbon. Now we find in wood a 
delightfully abundant source of carbon. Why, then, is 
there no run upon shavings during a time of famine ? 
Why does sawdust not keep down the price of porridge ? 

Were we not dealing with matter-of-fact people, we 
might have some shame in baldly stating the answer. 
The body is rather particular as to the form in which 
it will take its carbon. Some men take their whiskey 
neat, some with water. It is only the teetotaller who 
makes the contemptuous mistake of supposing that it is 
a matter of small consequence which way is adopted. 
The body cannot take its carbon neat— to the great ■ 
disappointment of chemists and the commissariat de- 
partment of war offices — nor can it take it in wood. 
It insists upon having it in decent oatmeal, and other ' 
legitimate forms. So with ideas. If an idea is pre- 
sented to a mind unprepared for it, there is no genuine i 
assimilation. At this point it may be convenient to } 
drop the physiological figure. Its further development I 
would no doubt be effective, but inartistic. 

Take the concrete case of a boy learning Latin. He 




may begin with the Mudimentg, or he may begin with 
some such book as ffeury'i First Latin Book. Both 
hooka convey the same information in the long run, but 
the severe Rudiments arouses no interest, while the 
other book with its immerliate application of every rule, 
and its actual translation from and into Latin, at once 
arouses and maintains an interest in what is going on. 

Most of us remember the queer sensations we had 
when as boys we were galloped through the axioms of 
Euclid. There was no difficulty in understanding 
them. The difficulty was rather to understand what in 
the world was the good of saying over all those pike- 
staff platitudes, " The whole is greater than its part." 
Of course 1 Who said it wasn't? What an ass Euclid 
must have been, would certainly have been our thought 
had we happened to know — which most of us did not 
— that Euclid had been a man. To us Euclid was an 
exercise book that no more demanded a living man be- 
hind it than did the multiplication table. Euclid was 
a part of the nature of things, like schoobnaaters, and 
it did not enter into our minds to go into the teleol- 
ogy of either. That a man called Ovid once sat down 
and wrote, for his own satisfaction and other people's 
pleasure, certain soannahle lines, aeems to a schoolboy 
a prodigy to be sarcastically spoken of. An Ovid with- 
out a scansion table at the beginning, and a vocabulary 
at the end, seems to many of our newer boys something 
very like a contradiction in terms. The boy's attitude 
towards Ijatia as taught on the old plan cannot be bet- 
ter put than by George Eliot in The Mill on the Flos»} 
1 Page 126. 



" It is doubtless almost incredible to instnicted mindB j 
of the present day that a boy of twelve, not belonging j 
strictly to 'the masses,' who are now understood to | 
have the monopoly of mental darkness, should have had ' 
no distinct idea how there came to be such a thing as 
Latin on this earth j yet so it was with Tom. It would 
have taken a long while to make conceivable to him 
that there ever existed a people who bought and sold 
sheep and oxen, and transacted the every-day affairs of 
life, through the medium of this language, and still 
longer to make him understand why he should be 
called upon to learn it, when its connection with those 
affairs had become entirely latent. So far as Tom had 
gained any acquaintance with the Romans at Mr. 
Jacob's Academy, his knowledge was strictly correct, ' 
but it went no further than the fact that they were 1 
' in the New Testament,' and Mr. Stelling was not the I 
man to enfeeble and emasculate his pupil's mind by j 
simplifying and explaining, or to reduce the tonic effect i 
of etymology by mixing it with smattering extraneona J 
information, such as is given to girls." 

It is the Noah's Ark fallacy under a new form. The 1 
Rudiments and the Delectus certainly contain in the ] 
smallest possible compass all that the schoobnaster | 
thinks it necessary to know about Latin. It is there- 
fore assumed that it is the best form in which Latin ] 
can be presented to the pupil. We have found, how- I 
ever, that in order truly to understand anything, we 
must see it in its proper surroundings. It is not abso- 
lutely necessary to go to Rome in onder to learn Latin, 
— though it would undoubtedly be learnt there with , 


an added interest, — but it is necessary that it should 
be learnt as something having a meaning in itself, 
not as a mere exercise. A schoolmaster's estimate of 
CEBsar has been sarcastically given as " a man who 
wrote a very good school-book, wliich would liave been 
excellent if only it had been better graduated." 

To be interesting, a thing must find a natural place 
for itself in the cosmos of the child's mind. An en- 
tirely unknown thing can have no interest whatever for 
a child, or indeed for an adult. Teaching consists in 
finding or forming suitable places among the appercep- 
tion masses for new ideas. Interest then depends on 
two things, — the activity of the particular apperception 
mass in question, and the intensity of the stimulus 
which arouses it. An apperception mass that has had 
long and complete possession of the dome of conscious- 
ness is easily roused to action, and frequently modifies 
the most unpromising subjects into stimuli. The case 
of Camper, the physiologist, is only a specially striking 
example of what is continually hapj>eniiig in the experi- 
ence of all. " I have been employed," he says, " six 
months on the Cetaeea; I understand the osteology of 
the head of these monsters, and have made the combi- 
nation with the liuman head so well, that everybody 
now appears to me narwhale, porpoise, or marsouin. 
Women the prettiest in society, and those whom I find 
less comely, they are all either narwliales or porpoises 
to my eyes."^ 

From the boy who gets up an interest in Farmer 

Giles' pet meadow by calculating its merits as a cricket 

' Quoted by Eraeraon, Essay on the Comic. 



pitch, up tn the Pruasian General Blucher riding along 
Regent Street, London, muttering " What plunder 1 " 
we all determine our interest according to the dominat- 
ing apperception masses in our minds. 

But the external exciting cause of interest is not 
without its special function and influence. A particu- 
larly nar whale -headed person would certainly prove 
more interesting to Camper than would an ordinary one- 
Some fields in themselves are moi'e interestijig to school- 
boys than are others, and if no sti'eet in the world could 
be quite so interesting to a Prussian general as Regent 
Street, there are very many streets that are less so.* 

But it must not be forgotten that in the last resort 
all interest comes from within. Chr. Ufer, in a pas- 
sage the humour of which does not seem to have suffi- 
ciently" impressed him, tells us that the child who 
Satt^ns his nose against the candy-shop window is not 
really int«rest«d in the candy, but in an idea that he 
wishes to realize. " The child desires the- candy, in 
order to bring the concept in his mind to complete 
clearness. The real eifect of the desire is, therefore, 
not the candy, but the taste concept in question. The 

■ This ia quite consislent witli Wundt'a Btalemenl in Uie Orundzligt, 
Vol. IL, p. 208 ; " Der Grad der Apperception nicht nach der Stttrke 
dea auBseren Eindruclu, sondem our nach der subjectiven ThStigkelt 
ax bemessen ist, durcb nelclie sich dai; BuvruMUeia einem bestimuiten 
SinnesreiE zuwendet." For the pajticulaily narwhaJe-headed peraon 
deriTW his special impoHance in this case as a Sinnesreiz from tbe 
content of Camper's mind. After a!!, a certain object is attractive 
because the mind makes it bo. 

* Introdvttion to the Pedagogy of Herban (ZioBer'a Translation), 
p. 30. 


candy ia deaired only as a means to the end, as an ex- 
ternal means to an internal condition." 

At first sight we aeera hero to have little better than 
a juvenile prose version of the casket philosophy dealt 
out to the luckless Prince of Aragon i — 

"Some there be that shadows kiss. 
Such have but a shadow's bliss." 

But in sober truth the soul can have nothing to do 
with candy. From the soul's point of view the shadow 
of the candy, the idea of it, is wliat is really deaired. 
It ia easy to point out that the soul has already the idea 
of the candy, since the child is staring at it through 
the shop window. The reply i.s prompt and crushing : 
the child has not the idea as he wishes to have it. 
The sight of the actual candy has quickened the Corre- 
sponding idea as a tight concept; what the child wants 
is to have it quickened into a taste concept, and that 
nothing short of the candy in the mouth can satisfac- 
torily effect.^ 

The mental state of this child before the candy-shop 
window is the ideal state to which the teacher wishes 
to be able to reduce his pupils in reference to things 
other than candy. He can succeed only in so far as he 
knows the content of the mind upon wliich he seeks to 
act, and the laws according to which mind reacts upon 
stimulus. Assuming those two conditions fulfilled, it 
appears that the child becomes clay in the hands of the 

' See some very importaat observations from the psychophysical 
standpoint by Professor Duualdaon in bis Qrotutk of the Brain, pp. 


275 . 

potter. Given certain stimuli which the teacher may ' 
apply, the pupil must respond to them iu a definite way. ■ 
What becomes of the child's will ? This question ia 
present causing a considerable amount of uneasiness j 
among Herbartians, who in all other respects are ' 
thoroughly satisfied with their theory. In his Psy- 
chology Herbart makes it clear that what is called the I 
transcendental will does not commend itself to his J 
favour ' and his critics have not failed to point out that I 
" transcendental freedom of will, in Kant's sense, is 
impossibility "' in hia system. 

It seema to be only of late, however, that practical | 
teachers have come to a knowledge of the hearing of \ 
this fact upon their work. If interest inevitably rouses ' 
desires, and desires lead to determinations resulting in 
actions, there can be no room for tliis transcendental 
will which is defined as "a will which can originate 
modifications in its environment, and therefore set aside, 
to a greater or less extent, the stream of causation in 
which it finds itself,"* It ia maintained by critics of ■ 
the Herbartian doctrine of interest, that its stream | 
of causation leaves no room for the working of the ■ 
will as thus defined. In answer Professor McMurry 
cheerily writes : " So far as replies to this charge ha 
been given, they indicate that the Uerbartians, while , 
greatly interested in the discussion of the transcenden- 
tal will, regard the problem as belonging rather to I 
metaphysics than to pedagogy. In their opinion daily 1 
experience teaches that interest affects volition ; and 

1 Psychology, p. 118. 

" Herbart," ^bc. Bt&. 



that is euougb for the teacher, for he sees in these facts 
an im[)ortant approach to conduct. However, in reply 
to this sound of alarm, it may be said that if a ti'auij- 
cendental will is one that is absolutely free, or one that 
is entirely lifted above the influence of desire in mak- 
ing choice, then education is comparatively valueless, 
for it can find no purchase upon such a will. But if 
the transcendental will is one that is influenced by de- 
sire in making choice, one can believe in it heartily and 
still accept the above-mentioned Herbartian doctrine, 
for it is known that desire has its origin in interest." ^ 

From our standpoint this seems eminently straight- 
forward and satisfactory. It does not please Mr. 
A. F. Ames, however, who replies^ to it, pointing out 
that it is possible to accept the Herbartian theory of 
interest without giving up the transcendental will. In 
fact, if we neglect interest, he maintains that we are 
unfair to this transcendental will. " Place a child," he 
says, " whose parents have been vicious and immoral in 
a pure environment and under wholesome influences, 
and his will may be strong enough to originate such 
modifications in his hereditary tendencies as will save 
him." But on the other hand : "Place a child in the 
midst of surroundings which are grossly immoral, and 
his will is powerless to originate modifications in his 
environment that shall set aside the streams of causa- 
tion in which he finds himself," 

Does this differ in any important way from the sun- 
nier statement of Professor McMurry ? Neither main- 
tains the absolute freedom of the will, for even with 
im. Educ. Review, Feb., 1800. ^ Ibid., April, ISBfl. 



Mr. Ames it caii only **sot tt8iiU\ fo ^ j/tvytrn^f tM- iri^^ 
extent^ the stream of oaustUiou/* 

By considering the actual sl^iiulin^ of iniot^«ii lUnottp; 
the Herbartians, wo may oonio to a nmoluHou of \\\\*i 
antagonism. So far are the tli'rhariiiut imIui'mUohIrIa 
from fearing interest that thoy havo niMUftlly ralf^Mil I) 
from a means to an end. 

The result of a conrso of (MliKMiiinn Im tin liiii^Mt* In 
be tested by the amount of knowlnl^n mimiuIiimI, liitl l»v 
the strength and variety of tlin iiiinrpwtw nroiiflHl. 'rids 
looks like turning our erinniiiorial world M|iRi/lf> down. 
Bat a little probing will show thai i)w \mrnt]nx 1^4 titii 
so absurd after all. Kiumhul^fi ift uoi /liRplH/Hl trtmi 
her high estate as an ^;diK',atfOTiail m^awni, sirr^^ ittff^r 
est, being a matter of aj>jiftrr^rf>ti/iTi masses \fi «fry dif^^ 
tion, really depenrlA on thf; </>Tif;^j»f- of fh^i m'ttt^}. fHfr 
doubt the knowledge impli^/l is not of f.K^ ^.».faf/rjjri^ 
kind that teachers love. A man tnf^y I'l^ s^r^fiMy int^f. 
ested in pictures, without F*«=»,inc; aM*^ f*o rj^f-f-k ^»ff natin^^ 
of painters, anil dat>»s of ^,xlvii'>if.iorm, fo .^h/ nothi-nsf ^ 
prices. Sucii a man han «<ei>n ?»nd ^ppr^'^iwtM nf>?^Tiy 
pictures, and eacli n»vv j>ict nr^, ho ^o'^^ ho «p]>or'^»iv^<* 
througii all his ^ath«tv»,d ^YporionoA. W<^ do no*: ^qy 
that he has the oictiiiv? fn^nltv %-n|"} do"o|o»)/*d r*-* ir*^ 
content to >«iy diat h«» iijw i .nri^{» ;fod rr»ll-d«*".»|r)«-)/.d 
apperception maas di*j»iinfr v;t)i ■)!/'*iir'»4 f-f:« 'r'<?r*r:r 
has made him t ^!/! .fiJin /V» /A^^^ 'hw^h'^//* \^ 
the French idiom .i^^ity ;>»i*h .♦ ■ iio •uo"'^ :tiTnv/'*f *? 

It is 30metim*f5* -ia-id 'ViPf* r .nfrn .<? r* .n»i^h r rr'iv 
again for t^^'er;' .«tTi((Uft:{^(j ii^ ;<'rior<Tq ^\v ^r^Ticf » 




Btateraent may be made about every important interest 
a man possesses. Your ideally educated mau must have 
a many-sided interest. Your man of one idea, of one 
subject, is, as a rule, a very useful man in society, or 
rather to society ; but he is not in himself a complete 
man. He is an invaluable instrument, but be is only 
a means, he is not an end in himself. Now certain 
philosophers of a happy turn of mind — a rare turn that 
deserves every encouragement — - believe that it is pos- 
sible to make the most of one's own life, and yet do the 
best for society ; indeed, that only by doing the best 
for oneself can one do the best for the society in which 
one lives. 

Naturally tlie selfishness referred to is not the ordi- 
nary vice of the natural man. It is true seifishness, 
cosmic selfishness. Only in so far as a man makes the 
most of liis nature does he fulfil his functioo in the 
organism of which he forms a part. 

To this Hegelian conception the Herbartian educa- 
tional system is tending. Obviously it imderlies Mr. 
Ames' view of the function of the transcendental will, 
and Dr. Harris in an appreciative notice ' of Professor 
Dewey's essay in the Second Supplement to tke Herbar- 
tian Year Book for 1895 practically applies the doc- 
trine of self-realization. To be sure, Professor Dewey 
adopts the term self-expression, but it comes to pretty 
much the same thing. According to his critic, Pro- 
fessor Dewey's technical term self-expression combines 
all that is implied in Plato's 'Avd/iinja-nt, Aristotle's 
deaipeii', and Kant and Hegel's pure thinking. 
> Am. Eiiuc. SevUxB, May, 181KJ. 


It is probably too much to say that the Herbartians 
as a body agree with Dr. Harris and Professor Dewey, 
but in the meantime it cannot be denied that the latest 
word of the Herbartians deposes interest from its place 
as the first principle of education, and makes it rank 
second to the principle of self-realization. Interests 
must be tested by their efifect on the child's develop- 
ment, viewed in connection with its place in the organic 
unity of the world in whicli it has to live. " Interest 
must be acknowledged as subordinate to the higher 
question of the choice of a course of study that will 
correlate the child with the civilization into which he 
is bom." 

This outcome of his work would no doubt have 
greatly surprised Johann Friedrich Herbart, But if 
we have drifted somewhat from Herbart, we have 
drawn nearer to Froebel. That the two opposing sys- 
tems should tend to meet on common ground is no 
more than one acquainted with the movement of the 
Hegelian dialectic would expect. It might be in- 
teresting, and it would not be excessively difficult, to 
resolve the antagonism of the two systems ; but from 
such a discussion the practical teacher has every right 
to claim exemption. 

^^^^^H INDEX ^^^^H 

Abstract, 319. 


Abatraction. 48. 

Camper, 272. ^^^^^^^^B 

AEti¥ity, 73. 

Carlyte, 127. ^^^H 

AetiTlty. preseotBtivB, 59. 7B. 

Chaucer, 103. ^^^H 

AoieB, A. P.. 27ti, 278. 

Cbes^tralnine, HI. ^^^^| 

Apperception, 64, 71. 

Ctub, Herbart, 44. ^^^H 

Coleridge, 167. ^^^1 

Collins, Wllkie, 229. ^^H 


Comeniua, 82 n., S3, 98 n., ITl, ^^^1 

Aristotle, 13, 199, 218. 

Arnold, Dr. Thomas, 90. 

Concept. 49 n.; kinds of, 374; psj- ^^^ 

Arrest, 67, 76. 

chological and logical, 181. H 

ABsimilatiDn, 61. 

Conaciousneas, 18; bulb figure of, 

AsBOciation, laws of, 52; Becondary 

38; divi<Ied, TM; iiir»-coD9cla(iB- J 

UwB of, 63. 

ness, 78 ; wave-figure of, 78, 252. J 

Attantion, deacription of, 2*8; 

Continuum. 77, 236. 1 

limited meaning of, 253 ; pbenom- 

enn attending, 264; three stages 

Biona, 331. ■ 

of, 3fl0; voluntary and iavoIuD- 

Crab, definition of, laS If. ^^H 

tary, 250, 251. 

Crime, teid^books in, 117. ^^H 

Crulkahank, George, 237. ^^^H 

Bacon, 1, 3, 9, 13. 

Cavier. 183. ^^H 

Bain, Professor, 29, 74, 150, 262. 

Barker, Henry J,. 317. 

Darwin, C. 21, 247, 367. ^^H 

BeU, Professor. I4:<. 

DaTidson, Dr.. 113. ^^^H 

Benerolent auperintendeuue, 42. 

Deduction aud observation, 141 if. ^^^H 

Berkeley. Bishop, 135. 

Bias of Priene, SI. 

Definition, principle of, 183 S. ^^^M 

Blnet, 143. 

De Foe, 227, 233, 239, 346. ^^^M 

Blake, 220. 

Da Morgan, 126, ^^^H 

Depravity, total, 82. ^^^^1 

220 ft. 

Detective, education, 139 ff. ^^^^| 

Brown, Dr. Thomas, 39, 63. 

Dewey, ProfesEor, 278. ^^^M 

Browning, Oscar. 6. 

iSickens, Charles, 114. UT. ^^^H 

Browning, Robert, 167. 

Dictionary teaching, 169. ^^^^H 




Dictionary, trne plac 

DictioQBtiea, rhyming, 178. 
Dome, figure of, 50. 
Donaldaon, Professor, 108, 2T4 a. 
Dore, Qustave, 222. 
Drawings, in education, 2](i; in re- 
ligion, 220. 
Dunces, 92. 

Education, conflicting syatema of, T ; 

empiricHl, 5 ; formal, 108 ; liieBlism 

in, 39 ; a mystery, 41. 
Ego, as idea, 193. 
Eliot, Geocga, 10, 263, 270. 
Emotion and Its oxpresaioD, 25^ B, 


Facts, 67 j brato facts, 162, IIH; or- 
ganized Into faculty. 130; subjec- 
tlTB element of, 152 It. 

Faculties, innate, 4T ; obnervliig, mi. 

Pagin, certificate, 131; edacational 
methods of, 118 ; school report of, 


Fairy tales v. Teal lam, 228. 
Fechner, 28, 80. 
Finality in education, 176. 
Forsler, 223. 
FcankenHtein, R6. 
Froebel, 11, 3a ff., 86, 279. 
Fusion, B6. 

Gallon, Fr., 20 n., 150 n., 220, 2 
Gamins V. schoolboys, 121 ff. 
Gaping, 130. 
Genius, 91. 
Goldsmith, 103, IBS. 
Guyau, 30 ff. 

Habreclit, Isaac, 1G3, 170. 
Haliam, 1. 

Harris, W. T., 49 n., 27S, 278. 
Hegel, 12, 4», 278. 

Helvetiua, 88ff.,96n. 

Heraolitus. 2, 68. 

Herbart, J. F., 28, 45, 72, 79, 80, 275, 

279; relation to Froebel, 4G; rela- 

Ijou to Locke, 47. 
tlerl>artinnism, a practical appiica^ 

tioQ of, 134. 
Herodotus, T, 85. 
Hodgson, T4. 

Holmes, Oliver Wendell, 77, 178. 
Holmes, Sherlock, 139; limitations 

and method, 147 ff., 214. 
Houdin, Robert, 138. 
Hume, 35. 
Huiley, 18, 23. 
Hypnotism, 30, 78. 
Hypotheses, place of, in Herburt's 

philosophy, 48. 
Hypothesis, guiding, 149, 151, 214. 


Idealism, 39. 

Ideas, 36 ff,, 46; admission of, OS; 
complex, 67 ; oontrary, disparate, 
and similar. 55; differences in 
different minds, l>5 ff. ; floating 
systems of, 242; focal, marginal, 
■■ ■ rginal,78; mechauism 

, of cc 

, 237; 

process of comn 
systems of, 192. 

IdeeJIxe, 61. 

Idols, 1; of the den, 2; of the mar- 
ket-place, 9; of the theatre, 12; of 
the tribe, 2. 

Illustrations, value of, 221. 

Images, 146. 

Imitation, edacatloDai application 
of, 103, 121. 

Inhibition,?!!, 264, 257. 

Interest, 162, 249; and Ittention, 
268 ff. ; and drudgery, 262 ; objec- 
tions to, 261 ff. ; present position 
in Herbartlanism, 279; raised 
from means to end. 277. 

Introspection, method of, 34 ; failure